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June 1, 08

NEWS / OPIC BOARD APPROVES $19 MILLION FOR LENDING TO BUSINESSES IN IRAQ


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved $19 million to support lending to middle-market and small and medium-sized enterprises in Iraq, expanding a project that has already demonstrated success in helping to rebuild the country’s private sector.

The OPIC loan is its third to the Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation (IMMDF) a nonprofit corporation based in Texas. IMMDF was created in 2004 to encourage the expansion of the private sector in Iraq, promote business knowledge and practices, and demonstrate to other potential financiers the viability of private-sector lending in Iraq.

IMMDF was initially capitalized by a grant from the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund established by the U.S. Congress, and has since received two OPIC loans totaling $62.5 million. It has a current loan portfolio of $42.3 million among 25 local borrowers.

“OPIC has been crucial to the capitalization of IMMDF from its inception, enabling the foundation to increase its impact on the reconstruction of Iraq’s business sector,” said OPIC President and CEO Robert Mosbacher, Jr. “This new facility will provided needed capital for IMMDF, further enabling it to support small business creation and expansion, helping to create jobs, transfer skills and target underserved regions and sectors.”

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 35-year history, OPIC has supported $177 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate over $13 billion in host-government revenues and create over 800,000 host-country jobs. OPIC projects have also generated $71 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 271,000 American jobs.
http://www.opic.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/pr042108.asp

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