Wednesday, November 09, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Egypt’s fledgling democracy received a significant boost from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, when OPIC’s Board of Directors approved $150 million in financing for investment in such critical sectors as consumer foods, manufacturing and financial services.
OPIC’s Board approved an investment guaranty to Citibank
for a loan of up to $150 million to Citadel Capital
, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa, to expand its subsidiaries working in critical sectors in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Of the total guaranty amount, $125 million is specifically designated for investment in Egypt.
The project represents another step toward fulfilling OPIC’s commitment to provide $2 billion of investment support to the MENA region, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
during her March trip to Egypt. In July, OPIC’s Board approved $500 million in financing to support lending to small businesses in Egypt and Jordan.
“In order to support the economic and political transformation of the Arab Spring, MENA countries need investment in vital sectors – and that’s precisely the goal of this project,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield. “It addresses the shortage of credit in Egypt, where investment in important infrastructure sectors has been stymied by political uncertainty. We expect that this project, by catalyzing economic growth and creating jobs, will make an important contribution to the growth of democracy in Egypt.”
Aftab Ahmed, CEO of Citi Egypt, said, "This strategic partnership with OPIC and key local commercial banks highlights Citi’s ongoing commitment to clients in Egypt, and demonstrates our willingness to support growth initiatives."
“OPIC’s financing facility comes at a time when the commercial sectors in Egypt most need support. We appreciate OPIC’s confidence in our firm to manage this vitally important $150 million investment,” said Citadel Capital Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal. “This will give us the flexibility we need to grow a number of our Egyptian platform companies amid economic headwinds from still-unfolding regional events. ”