TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

U.S. Government Agency Creates Africa Investment Council

Monday, 18 November 2002

Source: U.S. Department of State (Washington, DC)

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced the membership of its Africa Investment Advisory Council on November 13. The ten-member committee was established pursuant to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and for the purpose of supporting OPIC efforts to generate an increase in U.S. private investment in sub-Sahara Africa.

"We are convinced that Africa has the potential to become one of the world's most dynamic emerging markets in the next few years, and as such, an important destination for U.S. investment," said OPIC president and CEO Dr. Peter Watson in a press release.

"With the Africa Investment Advisory Council, OPIC has assembled ten leading experts on both successful investment strategy and U.S. trade with Africa," he said.

Council members represent private industries, non-governmental organizations (NGO's), and small businesses, and serve two-year terms.

The ten members are: Paul Applegarth, managing director of Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund; Dr. Kurt Campbell, senior vice-president of International Security Programs, Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Tony Carroll, managing director of Manchester Trade, Ltd.; Eva Clayton, U.S. House of Representatives; Aki Debayo-Doherty, chief executive officer of Hammatan; Robert Dugger, managing director of Tudor Investment Corporation; Matthew Freedman, president of Global Impact; Dwayne A. Gathers, president of Hanover Group, Inc.; Lottie Shakelford, executive vice president of Global USA; and Hansel E. Tookes, president of Raytheon International, Inc.

"OPIC will rely on their counsel to steward agency strategy in this priority region, to the benefit of both African and American businesses," Watson said. "A strong and prosperous Africa is in the best interest of the United States."

In August, Dr. Watson announced that OPIC will finance four projects in South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, and Ghana, designed to meet critical long-term development needs. This includes a $15 million loan guaranty to provide shelter for half a million South Africans. OPIC is currently supplying about $1 billion in financing and insurance to Sub-Saharan Africa.

With the creation of the Africa Investment Council, OPIC is continuing efforts, following the establishment of AGOA, to open African markets. AGOA, which was signed into law in the year 2000, offers tangible incentives for African countries to open their economies and build free markets. AGOA also provides African countries with liberal access to the U.S. market.

Established in 1971, OPIC is an agency of the U.S. government. Its mission is to mobilize and facilitate the involvement of U.S. private capital and skills in the economic and social development of less developed countries. OPIC helps businesses invest overseas, promotes economic development in new markets, and manages risks for the private sector associated with foreign direct investment.

In the past 30 years the agency has supported $142 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to produce over $11 billion in host-government revenues and create over 673,000 host-country jobs.