Press release: OPIC unveils 2x Women’s Initiative to mobilize more than $1bil to invest in the world’s women

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) today unveiled its global 2X Women’s Initiative, which will mobilize more than $1 billion to projects that support women in developing countries, unlocking the multi-trillion dollar investment opportunity women represent. The announcement was made at the 8th Annual International Women’s Day Forum, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As part of the new initiative, OPIC will directly invest $350 million in projects that will support lending to women-owned businesses, female entrepreneurs, as well as women-owned and women-led emerging market private equity funds. As the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, OPIC mobilizes private investment to address critical development challenges and stimulate economic growth in emerging economies.

“Recognizing both the great needs of women in emerging markets and their collective economic force, the U.S. Government has made investing in women a top priority,” say Ray W. Washburne, OPIC President and Chief Executive Officer. “OPIC is proud to drive this effort through its 2X Women’s Initiative, which will mobilize $1 billion in investments to women in developing countries throughout the world. OPIC supports investment in global development to advance economic prosperity and global stability; and women are key drivers to achieving both.”

OPIC Managing Director of Global Women’s Issues, Kathryn Kaufman, is leading the 2X Women’s Initiative.

“Research shows that women worldwide face a $300 billion shortfall in access to credit and that expanding lending to women-owned businesses brings a significant positive impact to their families and communities,” said Kaufman. “Through our global 2X Women’s Initiative, OPIC seeks to empower women through investment because we know that women are the key to more secure and prosperous communities.”

The 2X initiative commits to apply a gender lens to all the projects OPIC considers supporting, to evaluate the best ways these projects can support the needs of women.

OPIC has already committed multiple projects to support this initiative, including financing to two banks in India – Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank — to expand lending and microlending to women-owned businesses; and financing to Mongolia’s XacBank to support lending to women-owned businesses in that country.

Photo courtesy of Maria Andersson.

Source: Press release (link opens in a new window)

ESG, gender equality, impact investing, microfinance