Afghanistan

OPIC pledges additional $50 million for U.S. investment in Afghanistan

Source
Posted
Originally published
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has pledged an additional $50 million line of credit, bringing the total to a minimum of $100 million, in support of U.S. private sector investment in Afghanistan, according to a 4 March OPIC press release.
According to the press release, the $50 million line of credit is in addition to the $50 million OPIC line of credit that President Bush announced January 2002.

"OPIC has dedicated considerable resources to identifying projects and U.S. companies which can best aid the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We informed President Karzai today that OPIC will redouble its efforts to seek additional U.S. partners who will help speed that process. The extension of an additional line of credit supports this goal," said Peter Watson, president and CEO of OPIC, in the press release.

The press release announced two projects that promote private sector investment in Afghanistan. One project is the construction of a five-star international hotel in Kabul to be managed by Hyatt International, to which OPIC anticipates providing $35 million in financing and political risk insurance.

In the second project, OPIC is providing political risk insurance to enable a U.S. manufacturer to donate a compressed earth block machine for the construction of three schools, at least one of which will be for girls.

OPIC is an agency of the U.S. government established in 1971 that helps U.S. businesses invest overseas and promotes economic development in new and emerging markets.

Following is the text of the 4 March OPIC press release:

(begin text)

OPIC Press Release 3-16: 03/04/03
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

For further information, contact:

Lawrence Spinelli (202) 336-8690
Timothy Harwood (202) 336-8744

WATSON MEETS WITH KARZAI, OPIC PLEDGES ADDITIONAL $50 MILLION FOR AFGHANISTAN

WASHINGTON, D.C.- At a meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Dr. Peter Watson, president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), increased OPIC's line of credit to Afghanistan from $50 million to a minimum of $100 million to support U.S. private sector investment.

"OPIC has dedicated considerable resources to identifying projects and U.S. companies which can best aid the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We informed President Karzai today that OPIC will redouble its efforts to seek additional U.S. partners who will help speed that process. The extension of an additional line of credit supports this goal," Dr. Watson said.

The increased line of credit follows OPIC's successful efforts to attract private investment in Afghanistan. In January 2002, President Bush announced that OPIC would establish a $50 million line of credit to promote private sector investment in Afghanistan. On February 27th, OPIC concluded a memorandum of understanding pledging support for theconstruction of a five-star international hotel in Kabul, managed by Hyatt International. OPIC anticipates providing up to $35 million in financing and political risk insurance to the project.

President Karzai, in an interview on CNN's Inside Edition with Wolf Blitzer, said the hotel project demonstrated "a vote of confidence in the stability of the government" by the Bush Administration. Additionally, OPIC announced that it would provide political risk insurance to enable a U.S. manufacturer to donate a compressed earth block machine for the construction of three schools in Afghanistan, at least one of them for girls.

"The two OPIC projects announced last week represent significant progress toward fulfilling President Bush's January 2002 announcement that OPIC would establish a $50 million line of credit to promote private sector investment in the country," Dr. Watson added. "That two very different American projects should make equally valuable contributions to Afghanistan's reconstruction is strong evidence of the private sector's impact on emerging markets."

OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.

OPIC's political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide. Over the agency's 32-year history, OPIC has supported $145 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate over $11 billion in host-government revenues and create over 680,000 host-country jobs. OPIC projects have also generated $65 billion in U.S. exports and created more than 254,000 American jobs.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)