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OPIC upbeat on Malawi

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The United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) says there seems to be enthusiasm in Malawi about investments and has committed to explore opportunities of supporting private sector development in the country.

OPIC vice president James Polan, admitted that the corporation has not done enough in Malawi previously but now wants to increase its footprint in the country.

“That is why we are here today,” said Polan during the Malawi Investment Forum which took place in Lilongwe on Monday and Tuesday this week.

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“I am particularly happy with the enthusiasm which we have seen here and we feel we will back soon to offer our services to local business operators,” he said.

He said most of the interest they have received for loans is coming from prospective investors in energy, agro industry, seed processing, hotels and tourism sectors.

OPIC has in the past financed the Nacala corridor railway project.

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The corporation, which supports American businesses investing in emerging markets to address critical development challenges, has dangled loan facilities for short to long term at an average six percent interest rates to local investors who shall partner American companies.

The actual interest rates would, according to Polan, depend on the risks and the length and product enhancement that it has and that loans are payable in 10 years.

He said OPIC offers loans of up to US$250 million.

He said the corporation will work with local banks to fill gaps in the access to finance and in providing guarantees to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises so that they are able to access smaller loans.

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