Top US officials in Ghana to assess impacts of private investments

BY: Daily Graphic
Mr Robert Porter Jackson, US Ambassador to Ghana
Mr Robert Porter Jackson, US Ambassador to Ghana

Two high profile executives of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States agency that helps businesses invest in developing markets around the world, are in Accra to see the impact of its projects as part of a three-country trip to West Africa.

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They are Mr David Bohigian, the Executive Vice-President of OPIC, and Mr Edward Burrier, the Vice-President of External Affairs of the agency. Their visit will also take them to Togo and Cameroun with their team.

A statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of the United States Embassy in Accra to the Ghana News Agency, said OPIC was playing a significant role in Ghana’s economic development through the $1.3 billion of exposure to support a wide range of projects in the healthcare, housing, education and energy sectors.

The visit will also afford the officials the opportunity to see the results of some of these efforts, the statement added.

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“With one-third of OPIC’s active portfolio now focused on the African continent (totalling $7.3 billion), Ghana ranks number one on OPIC’s current country exposure list for Africa, representing more than $1.3 billion in various investment finance, political risk insurance and investment fund support.

“OPIC committed $400 million in financing and political risk insurance for the Amandi 200 megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Ghana’s Western Region,” the statement said.

“This U.S. Power Africa-supported project was the only Power Africa Project to reach financial close in 2016, thanks to OPIC’s support. Over the years, OPIC has also supported Ghana’s healthcare sector through a $250 million project to rehabilitate medical clinics and hospitals throughout the nation, including Korle-Bu.

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“OPIC also provided $60 million in support to Ghana Home Loans to help make mortgages available to Ghanaian families seeking affordable housing. These are just a few of the projects OPIC has supported in Ghana in recent years,” the statement noted.

Writing on the topic ‘investing in Africa’s next stage of growth’, Mr Burrier was quoted in the statement as saying: “We’ve long recognised the potential of Africa and its people.

“Our portfolio in Africa has grown from about $1 billion in 2002 to $7 billion today. When I travel with a team from OPIC to Ghana and West Africa this week, I’ll see the impact that investment has had, from Cameroun — where a new hospital is providing sight-saving surgery to thousands — to Togo, where a major power plant tripled electricity generation capacity. Here in Ghana, OPIC has supported investment in many sectors, from a sweeping project to introduce more advanced healthcare equipment, to a major power plant, to a mortgage company that helped simplify land registry, enabling more people to purchase homes.

“These projects are all a testament to the local governments that have committed to adopting reforms to attract more investors, as well as the people of Africa, who comprise a large and growing population that are recognised around the world as a powerful force. By 2050, a full quarter of the world’s population will be Africans, most of them under the age of 30.”