Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), a United States (US) government’s development finance institution, has expressed interest to work with the country’s private sector to provide medium to long-term financing.
Opic director of business development Peter Ballinger said this on Tuesday in Blantyre.
He said they are willing to provide funding through direct loans and loan guarantees to eligible investment projects in Malawi and other developing countries and emerging markets.
“Opic’s minimum loan guarantee size is $350 000 [K242 million] and the maximum is $250 million [K173 billion]. If the project requires more than Opic’s maximum per project lending capacity, Opic is experienced in working with co-lenders to bring sufficient resources to a project.
“So far, Opic has committed $4.1 billion (about K2.9 trillion) to 62 private equity funds in emerging markets since 1987. These funds in turn have invested $5.6 billion (K3.8 trillion) in more than 570 privately-owned and managed companies across 65 countries,” he said at the Financiers Networking Forum under the theme Fostering Sustainable Business Partnerships.
The forum was held to drum up support and enlighten the private sector on project financing models ahead of the Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) 2016 to be held in Lilongwe in October.
On her part, US Ambassador Virginia Palmer called on the Malawi Government to review the Control of Goods Act and intensify corruption fight if Malawi is to lure more investors from America.
She said since 80 percent of Malawi’s economy is agro-based, the sector can attract prime American investments if more is done on the investment front.
While observing that no American firm has signed an investment deal with Malawi in 18 months she has been in the country, Palmer, said a number of American investors are keen to invest in Malawi.
She said: “For investors to come [to Malawi], we are hoping that laws such as Control of Goods Act could be reviewed so that the export licensing regime is more predictable and farmers know that they can get financing and sell their crops when it is harvested.
“The export ban has had no impact on lowering prices for domestic producers in the country rather they have protected global consumers and created higher prices for the domestic market.”
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha said Malawi has immense business opportunities in all sectors.
He urged local businesses to embrace the concept of debt in growing their businesses, saying: “Smart businesses use debt to grow their businesses while at the same time creating wealth for themselves and their companies.”
The forum attracted local private sector and international financiers such as PTA Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Afrexim Bank and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa.