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Blog Category: OPIC

Historic Forum Yields Significant Gains for Africa-U.S. Business Ties

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig speaking with Elizabeth Littlefield, President & CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

Guest blog post by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted an event showing that Africa is one of the world’s next great sources of economic growth.

The first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum brought together American and African business leaders with the heads of nearly 50 African nations to exchange ideas and create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment.

And this was not just an academic discussion. We built the kind of relationships that will help usher in a new level of success for the growing economies and businesses of Africa, as well as spur real gains for U.S. companies.

Several American companies, among others, announced new partnerships in Africa, resulting in multi-million and multi-billion dollar deals:

Also, as part of the White House’s Power Africa initiative—which pledges to invest $7 billion and create an additional 10,000 megawatts of cleaner electricity over the next five years— American company Contour Global secured a $120 million contract to rehabilitate an existing Senegalese power site and construct a new one. That deal will provide another 53 megawatts of electricity to Senegal’s citizens.

As excited as my colleagues and I are about these deals, contract signings weren’t the only highlights of the forum.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation Provides End-to-End Infrastructure Financing and Makes the World a Little More Interconnected

The agencies which make up a U.S. Government mission overseas are not merely an alphabet soup of acronyms along for the ride. Working long hours behind the scenes both before and after the mission itself, applying skill and expertise to complex international negotiations under deadline pressure, they provide the very substance that makes foreign policy real, and which might just make the world a little smaller and a little more interconnected.

For that reason, one such agency – the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution – appreciated Commerce Secretary Bryson’s shout-out during his remarks to the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai last week.

“I have a good piece of news from OPIC,” Secretary Bryson said. “I’m sure that many of you are familiar with India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation – IDFC. Yesterday (March 29), OPIC’s Board approved $250 million in financing to help IDFC expand lending for renewable energy projects, including solar, wind and energy efficiency, as well as for infrastructure projects. This will help meet an important need for more long-term capital to support India’s growing renewable energy sector.”

Indeed, it will. IDFC is India’s premier infrastructure lender, with an enviable track record in the sector.  As a specialized financial institution, it provides end-to-end infrastructure financing and integrated project implementation services for India’s most important priority sectors. 

Secretary Locke Completes Clean Energy Trade Mission to China

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addresses students and scientists at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.Secretary Locke wrapped up his China clean energy trade mission – the first Cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration –  Friday in Beijing. Over the last week, Locke visited Hong Kong and Shanghai and will continue on to Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday after participating in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Throughout the mission Locke focused on opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration in the clean energy market and the special responsibility the two countries have to lead the way in combating global climate change. 

At his last stop in Beijing, Locke engaged in a first-of-its-kind dialogue and live webchat with Tsinghua University students and scientists who are working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies. Locke told the students that the United States, China and the entire world are counting on bright, motivated people to discover new energy technologies to reach energy efficiency goals while creating jobs in China and the United States.

He also visited the United Family Hospital New Hope Cancer Treatment Center, a joint U.S.-China venture featuring nearly $6 million worth of U.S. exports of medical technology.

In China, Locke traveled with representatives of 24 U.S. businesses. Ten executives will be continuing on with him to Jakarta, Indonesia, along with representatives from the Trade Development Agency (TDA), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).

The clean energy trade mission comes on the heels of President Obama’s call to double U.S. exports in the next five years and support 2 million American jobs.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with 
students at Tsinghua University  working on , clean-energy tech

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke engages in a dialogue with students and scientists working on cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University.  The dialogue featured live questions from Chinese “netizens,” and a transcript of the event was streamed live on the Global Times Web site and later re-posted on NetEase.com.