Interview with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President and CEO, Elizabeth Littlefield
“The AfDB’s President, Donald Kaberuka and I have discussed at length on environmental issues… We have shared commitments for partnership to jointly provide finance and develop the region,” Ms Littlefield said after their meeting in Tunis on March 17, 2011.
Question: OPIC is an institution that has been supporting development. I believe this is the beginning of a long-term cooperation with the African Development Bank (AfDB). Private sector is key for Africa’s development. Can you give us a hint of your discussions with President Donald Kaberuka?
Response: It was a pleasure to meet with the African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, to share perspectives on our strong commitment to support North Africa. The US Chair is strongly willing to support North Africa particularly this time. The key channel to do that is through the AfDB’s private sector, to create jobs and opportunities and the only way to do that is to encourage foreign direct investment into the region and we feel we should encourage US portfolio investors, to bring capital and other resources to invest in the region.
Question: OPIC also focuses on environmental issues and you delivered a key statement during COP-16 meeting. You also know very well that the African Development Bank should host the African Green Fund, which is very important for the continent. To what extent can OPIC strategically cooperate with AfDB to make this a reality?
Response: It is one of the topics I discussed with President Kaberuka. We shared commitments to developing and providing finance to the region. We discussed at length the paths open for partnering between the US government, development finance institutions and the AfDB, to do joint financing for the region. With respect to renewable energy and renewable resources such as water and forestry and a number of other resources, we feel they are priority number one for OPIC and for the AfDB as well. I think these are areas where we will work together to bring clean renewable energy to Africa and to ensure that the continent uses it efficiently and innovatively.