U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, OPIC, Announces $50 Million Investment in Impact Investing Pioneer Root Capital
Thursday, April 28, 2016
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, announced today a renewed commitment to agricultural impact investor Root Capital. OPIC’s commitment, an increase to a $50 million financing facility, is Root Capital’s largest source of funding, and will significantly support Root Capital’s established on-lending program to rural, underserved businesses in Latin America and Africa.
“As the leading impact investor in the U.S. government, OPIC is excited to invest in high-impact sector projects that advance underserved populations in developing countries,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “OPIC’s continued partnership with Root Capital will further generate social and financial returns for small farmers in vulnerable environments, sustainably improving their livelihoods and cultivating prosperity in their communities.”
Founded in 1999, Root Capital has provided $946 million in loans to more than 600 small and growing agricultural businesses that collectively source from 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s loans have helped its small business clients generate $1.5 billion in total revenue, $980 million of which has been paid to directly to smallholder farmers.
OPIC, the U.S. government’s development bank, has been an impact investing pioneer — providing critical leadership and capital during both the Bush and Obama administrations — all while operating on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
OPIC has been Root Capital’s largest investor since 2010, and the institution’s previous investment in Root Capital was critical in helping the organization rapidly scale and attract new investors. In the six years since OPIC’s first investment, Root Capital has more than quadrupled the amount lent to agricultural enterprises and doubled the number of farm families reached than it had in the 10 years prior.
“OPIC’s decision to increase their existing facility to $50 million is a vote of confidence in Root Capital,” explained Willy Foote, Root Capital founder and CEO. “This facility is indispensable as we continue to push the frontiers of agricultural finance, supporting small businesses that increase incomes and generate stable employment for millions in some of the world’s poorest, most environmentally sensitive places. We’re extremely proud to work with OPIC, and thankful for their commitment to improve farmer livelihoods around the globe.”