America’s DFC commits over $70 mn for African firms

 America’s DFC commits over $70 mn for African firms

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), has approved fresh commitments of around $72 million to a bunch of companies and organizations in Africa.

The American development bank, formerly known as OPIC, committed most of the capital in the form of loan guarantees, direct loans and risk coverage.

The largest commitment is for agricultural businesses in Africa, with a $20 million loan portfolio guaranty to Missio Invest Social Impact Fund (MISIF). The fund, managed by the Catholic Church-backed MissioInvest, lends to Catholic-operated small- and medium-sized (SME) enterprises attached to social service organizations.

The fund has issued loans to 38 SMEs across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. It is expanding to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana and other countries in West Africa in the near term.

Another large commitment is for boosting healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa with a $18-million loan portfolio guaranty to the Medical Credit Fund through the Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative. This will support lending to healthcare SMEs across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on those helping their communities treat and recover from COVID-19.

The Medical Credit Fund was established in 2009 as part of the PharmAccess Group. It has lent around $100 million to date to more than 1,800 companies with ticket sizes varying from $1,000 to $2.5 million. It has partnerships and integrated loan products across Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

The DFC has also provided a loan guaranty of $5.1 million to Nigeria’s LAPO Microfinance Bank to support lending to agriculture and renewable energy projects, supporting food security and sustainable economic growth in the country.

In another similar project, the DFC will provide a $4.4-million loan portfolio guaranty to CRDB Bank to catalyze financing for Tanzania’s health sector.

In terms of direct loans, the US development bank will provide $10 million to Nithio FI BV to increase financing in the energy sector across Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda by leveraging its artificial intelligence-driven risk assessment modelling.

The DFC will also provide a $5-million direct loan to Africa Healthcare Network to expand access to affordable healthcare through its dialysis centers across East Africa.

In addition, the development bank will bring $4 million for capitalizing Lending for Education in Africa Partnership for affordable loans and support services to college students in Kenya.

These apart, DFC will provide $6.3 million in political risk insurance for Rwanda’s Heaven Holdings Ltd to expand a hotel complex in Kigali.

Besides, it will support a few initiatives that span different markets beyond Africa. For instance, it will lend $37.5 million to the Global Partnerships Impact First Growth Fund to help social enterprises in Latin America, Africa, and select countries in Asia recover from the negative impact of COVID-19.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest