US government agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) today said it would provide $250 million (about Rs 1,200 crore) to expand a partnership with Citi that provided micro-finance lending to borrowers in emerging markets worldwide. The facility has the potential to reach more than 480,000 borrowers, OPIC said.
The US agency will participate in Citi originated and funded local currency loans to micro-finance institutions (MFIs), which in turn make small loans to micro-borrowers in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The project represents the expansion of a $100-million OPIC-Citi microfinancing funding facility launched in December 2006. Under this programme, Citi and OPIC are providing financing to 23 MFIs in 13 countries.
OPIC uses such framework agreements to mobilise private capital in host countries, extend the term of available financing in support of local development and increase host country liquidity.
“Leveraging Citi’s emerging markets presence, this new Citi/OPIC $250-million global programme will provide incremental funding to achieve our shared objectives of supporting micro-entrepreneurship and stimulating economic growth,” said Vikram Pandit, chief executive officer of Citi.