The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Board of Directors has approved $1 billion of investments that will advance development in Africa, Latin America, the Indo-Pacific, and emerging markets across the globe. The investments mark one of the largest tranches approved during a Board meeting under DFC and its predecessor agency.
“These projects will uplift some of the most underserved communities around the world,” said DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler. “They demonstrate DFC’s commitment to use its enhanced toolkit to deliver transformative results. The impact of these projects will be particularly meaningful as the world continues to fight the health and economic fallout of the pandemic.”
The approved projects will strengthen health systems, bolster food security, and support other highly impactful development outcomes. Several projects also expand access to financial services for women, small businesses, and other underserved groups at a time when capital is in desperate need. The projects have a particular focus on development impact, with nearly 60 percent of investments in low- and lower middle-income countries.
The Board also approved DFC’s first transactions using equity and technical assistance—new tools granted to the agency by Congress when it created DFC.
Many of the approved projects advance DFC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, which aims to catalyze investment in projects that are owned by, led by, or empower the world’s women and supports the Administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). Other agency priorities supported by these projects include its Health and Prosperity Initiative, Portfolio for Impact and Innovation (PI2), and Connect Africa initiative as well as the Administration’s Prosper Africa and América Crece initiatives.
The projects approved by the Board are in addition to more than a dozen other projects approved by DFC since its last Board meeting that did not require Board-level approval. These investments will deliver far-reaching development impact around the world by expanding access to energy, financial services, and economic opportunity.
Projects approved by the Board include:
- Strengthening food security in India: Up to $20 million in equity will help Freshtohome deliver high-quality, affordable fish, meat, and produce to homes across India. In addition to strengthening food security, the project will support more than 1,500 farmers and fishermen throughout the country, where 70 percent of rural households depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood.
- Helping SMEs secure loans in Guatemala: A loan of up to $200 million will enable Banco Industrial to expand lending to Guatemala’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which face a roughly $14 billion credit gap that limits their ability to expand, increase revenues, and create jobs. The project will dedicate at least 30 percent of loan proceeds to women and place a special focus on reaching rural borrowers in the most vulnerable communities in Guatemala.
- Expanding access to highly impactful products and services across Africa: An up to $30 million investment in AfricInvest Fund IV will support businesses in highly developmental sectors such as healthcare and financial services across Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and other African countries. The fund’s investments will help expand access to particularly impactful products and services in communities where their availability is limited.
- Addressing resource scarcity in India: An up to $30 million investment in South Asia Growth Fund II will support businesses in the energy, water, and food sectors across India. The fund aims to promote sustainable access to and the efficient use of these resources, which remain scarce in many regions of India.
- Empowering smallholder dairy farmers in India: Up to $371,000 in technical assistance will support Milk Mantra, which sources milk from more than 60,000 smallholder farmers—many of whom are women—to produce and sell dairy products in eastern India. The technical assistance is intended to enhance the impact of an approved DFC loan to the project by sharing the costs of services including farmer training, cattle health services, and a digital financial services program designed to empower women farmers.>
- Introducing innovative technologies in Southeast Asia: An up to $25 million investment will support Asia Partners I LP, a fund which will invest in businesses introducing innovative technology platforms in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. These investments will help reduce costs for SMEs, facilitate trade, and foster innovation.
- Creating quality employment opportunities in Mexico: An up to $20 million investment in Alta Growth Capital Mexico Fund III will support medium-sized businesses in Latin America, with a focus on Mexico. The fund aims to create quality employment opportunities in communities where most working-age adults are employed by the informal sector without stable wages and benefits.
- Boosting key industries across Africa: An up to $25 million investment will support SPE AIF I LP, a fund which will invest in businesses in key industries across North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will focus on businesses expanding access to healthcare and education, strengthening supply chains, and streamlining logistics.
- Promoting women’s economic empowerment in Ecuador: A loan of up to $150 million will help Banco Pichincha obtain otherwise unavailable long-term financing needed to expand lending to women-owned and -led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ecuador. The project will address a major barrier to credit facing Ecuadorian women, who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic challenges of COVID-19.
- Advancing financial inclusion in Mexico and Colombia: A $200 million loan will enable Bayport to expand lending to civil service employees and pensioners in Mexico and Colombia, where these individuals are typically unable to access financial services due to income constraints, limited credit history, and other challenges. The loans will help borrowers secure services such as healthcare, education, and housing.
- Encouraging small business growth in Ecuador: A $92 million loan to Banco Guayaquil will extend financing to Ecuador’s SMEs, which represent roughly 40 percent of businesses in the country. At least 50 percent of loan proceeds will go to women borrowers.
- Improving access to education globally: A $200 million loan will enable Prodigy Finance to provide loans to students pursuing advanced education across the world. Nearly 80 percent of the beneficiaries are expected to be from low- and lower middle-income countries and at least 30 percent will be women.
Additional projects approved by DFC since its last Board meeting that did not require Board-level approval include:
- Improving rural livelihoods globally: A $35 million loan guaranty to Root Capital will facilitate loans to agricultural cooperatives and smallholder farmers around the world.
- Strengthening energy security in India: A $142 million loan will help ReNew Power develop, construct, and operate a 300-megawatt solar power plant in Rajasthan, India.
- Bolstering SMEs in Nigeria: A $14.6 million loan guaranty to World Business Capital will expand lending through Sterling Bank to SMEs in Nigeria.
- Empowering women in Mongolia: A $5 million loan will help Goyol Cashmere, a woman-founded company that primarily employs women, expand operations in Mongolia.
- Innovating the dairy industry in India: A $2.7 million loan guaranty to Stellapps Technologies will advance innovative solutions that streamline the dairy value chain in India.
- Investing in small businesses across East Africa: A $4 million loan will help iungo capital make debt and equity investments in SMEs across East Africa.
- Enhancing the power supply in India: A $50 million loan will enable Sitara Solar Energy Private Ltd. to build and operate a 100-megawatt solar power plant in Rajasthan, India.
- Expanding access to financial services in Cambodia: A $5 million loan to i-Finance Leasing will extend financial services to underbanked populations in Cambodia.
- Empowering smallholder dairy farmers in India: A $10 million loan will help Milk Mantra, a dairy company committed to ethical sourcing from smallholder farmers, expand its operations in eastern India.
- Supporting sustainable agribusiness in Kenya: An up to $7 million guaranty to One Acre Fund will support the procurement and provision of agricultural inputs on credit to smallholder farmers—most of whom women—across Kenya.
- Scaling up high-impact businesses in India: A $50 million loan will help Northern Arc Capital extend loans to businesses that expand access to water, sanitation, and food or advance women’s economic empowerment in India.
- Creating economic opportunity in Jordan: A $41 million loan to The Moon Land will support the operation of a community retail center that will create quality jobs in Zarqa City, Jordan.
- Generating solar power in India: A $27.3 million loan will enable Paryapt Solar Energy Private Ltd. to build and operate a 50-megawatt solar power plant in Gujarat, India.
- Increasing access to education in India: A $14.6 million loan guaranty to World Business Capital will support the expansion of Avanse Financial Services’ student loan program in India.
Many of these investments are subject to Congressional Notification.
Source: DFC (Published on June 4, 2020)