The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Elizabeth L. Littlefield, says though the organization’s investment portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown to more than US$6 billion in recent years, the portfolio is still too small for the region.
“Although our portfolio has increased over the years, we believe this is too small and we aim to change that,” she said, adding, “we are here to listen and learn.”
She said those who live within an economy invariably have the greatest insight into its needs and potentials, and as such, into what needs to be done to attract and keep the private investment that is so essential to job creation.
Madam Littlefield made these statements recently at the signing ceremony between OPIC and International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL) to lend US$20 million direct loan to support lending in sectors such as construction, services, manufacturing, agribusiness, hospitality, and transportation.
She said OPIC is working along with IBLL to facilitate such endeavors.
“The OPIC loan agreement will allow IBLL to address a gap in the marketplace by providing clients in road infrastructure construction sector, manufacturing sector, agribusiness sector, and other industries with long term credit facilities, which will enable those clients to significantly contribute to Liberia’s economic recovery,” said Madam Littlefield.
The OPIC CEO emphasized that the company is in Liberia to stand in solidarity with Liberians—along with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Power Africa interagency coalition—to underscore that the future of the two nations (Liberia and U.S.) will continue to be intertwined.
“We are here to offer Liberian companies face-to-face access to investors and to provide information about the resources that OPIC and interested investors may be able to share,” she said.
For his part, IBLL Chief Executive Officer Henry F. Saamoi said Littlefield has proven herself as a real partner in Liberia’s development agenda.
“As a majority US owned institution, I want to say what we are about to witness is a further testament of the commitment of the American people to the Liberian people; and as an indigenous Liberian, I am very proud to be part of this process,” Mr. Saamoi said.
He assured the partners that IBLL will continue to work across all spectrums of the Liberian society by providing services where the need exists in helping to shape the country’s development landscape.
“We focus principally on development initiates, but also realize that the economy is a trading thus compelling us to work with both the large trading community as well as meeting the needs of the small Liberian businessperson,” Saamoi added.
He called on the visiting investors to seize the opportunities and invest in Liberia.