Resources - USG

U.S. Government Resources and Programs

The US Government (USG) has a range of programs that support trade and investment in African countries. While the USG in general does not make equity investments, it does support technical assistance and debt finance through loans and loan guarantees. To obtain additional information about specific programs and opportunities contact the US Embassy or the USAID Mission in your country of interest. The respective websites are www.state.gov and www.usaid.gov.

  1. US Agency for International Development (USAID)

USAID is the principal bilateral economic development agency for the U.S. USAID has 26 Missions across Africa, which support our bilateral development assistance program in each country. Each program focuses on priority areas in that country, e.g., health, education or water and sanitation. For specific contacts in the local USAID Mission, please contact the desk officer found on the usaid.gov website.

Trade Hubs: USAID maintains three “Trade Hibs,” located in Accra (serving West Africa); Nairobi (serving East Africa); and Pretoria, which serves the southern Africa rfegion. The various Hubs can provide certain information about local markets and technical information about exporting within the region, to the US, or globally.

Loan Guarantees: USAID provides loan guarantees through banks and certain non-bank financial institutions. If there are any active credit guarantees in your country of implementation, they are listed below. You will need to contact the USAID Mission to obtain contact information at the relevant financial institution.

  1. MBDA

MBDA Business Centers will match you with a Minority Business Enterprise, based on your NAICS codes. AMD and MBDA will work with you to identify your appropriate NAICS code.1

Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets — domestic & global — and growing in size and scale, can access business experts at a MBDA Business Center. Whether it’s securing capital, competing for a contract, identifying a strategic partner or becoming export-ready, your success is our priority.

The Centers are located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses. The Centers are staffed by business specialists who have the knowledge and practical experience needed to run successful and profitable businesses. Business referral services are provided free of charge. However, the network generally charges nominal fees for specific management and technical assistance services.

Nationwide Network for Minority Entrepreneurs: Visit this website to select a Business Center near you - http://www.mbda.gov/businesscenters

  1. US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

USTDA's program creates a win-win scenario by promoting U.S. exports to advance economic growth in developing and middle-income countries. Its' program has been a catalyst for opening new markets for U.S. companies, large and small, looking to expand sales overseas.

International Business Partnership Program: Connecting U.S. Firms with Foreign Buyers

In support of the National Export Initiative, USTDA launched the International Business Partnership Program (IBPP) to connect international buyers with U.S. manufacturers and service providers in order to open new export markets and commercial opportunities around the world for American companies. Key activities include:

Visit the Events page to view a list of our current RTMs, Conferences and Workshops and Training.

Reverse Trade Missions bring foreign buyers to the United States, pending an upcoming procurement, in order to observe the design, manufacture, demonstration and operation of U.S. products and services that can help them achieve their development goals. These strategically planned missions also present excellent opportunities for U.S. businesses to establish or enhance relationships with prospective overseas customers.

USTDA organizes worldwide conferences and workshops to connect U.S. firms with foreign project sponsors. These sector or region-specific events are designed to showcase U.S. goods, services and technology to foreign buyers. U.S. firms also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with overseas project sponsors. These events also provide U.S. companies with an understanding of U.S. government programs and the role they can play in supporting increased exports, from advocacy support to export financing options.

In support of U.S. businesses, USTDA provides training for foreign decision makers to support the sale of U.S. equipment and services overseas. Training can take place in either the United States or host country and it typically focuses on technology or regulatory requirements in order to give project sponsors a better understanding of U.S. capabilities and expertise related to a procurement opportunity.

Project Development Program: Getting it right from the Start

USTDA provides grants directly to overseas sponsors who, in turn, select U.S. companies to perform Agency-funded project development activities. An overseas sponsor is a local entity, public or private, with the decision-making authority and ability to implement a project. While USTDA projects span a variety of sectors, many focus on clean energy and energy efficiency, transportation, information and communications technology, and the environment. Key activities include:

USTDA-funded and U.S.-led feasibility studies link foreign project sponsors with U.S. businesses at the critical early stage when technology options and project requirements are being defined. These studies provide the comprehensive analysis required for major infrastructure investments to achieve financing and implementation.

In some cases, export opportunities depend on a demonstration of the U.S. seller's goods, services or technologies in the foreign buyer's setting. USTDA-funded pilot projects demonstrate the effectiveness of commercially proven U.S. solutions and provide the analysis, evaluation and empirical data needed for potential foreign projects to secure funding.

USTDA advances economic development in partner countries by funding technical assistance that supports legal and regulatory reform related to commercial activities and infrastructure development, the establishment of industry standards, and other market-opening activities. These technical assistance programs facilitate favorable business and trade environments for U.S. goods and services.

Contact: Lida Fitts, Regional Director for Africa (Africa@ustda.gov)

  1. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs.

OPIC Financing provides medium- to long-term funding through direct loans and loan guaranties to eligible investment projects in developing countries and emerging markets. By complementing the private sector, OPIC can provide financing in countries where conventional financial institutions often are reluctant or unable to lend. OPIC can meet the long-term capital investment financing needs of any size business in a wide variety of industries.

OPIC’s minimum loan/guaranty size is $350,000 and the maximum is $250 million.  If a 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.  The majority of OPIC’s financing is used to cover the capital costs (such as design/engineering services, facility construction or leasehold improvements, equipment) associated with the establishment or expansion of a project in a non-financial industry or to fund the expansion of lending capacity (such as microfinance, SME lending or mortgage lending) by a financial services provider.

OPIC does not consider financing requests that are solely for working capital needs or for the purpose of making an acquisition, though limited working capital or acquisition costs may be financeable if they are a portion of overall project costs.  OPIC does not finance export sales that are unrelated to long-term investments in overseas projects. To learn more about other U.S. government programs that support the National Export Initiative, visit www.export.gov.

Through the OPIC FORMS Dashboard, new and existing clients can apply for financing or update existing account information. New clients are requested to contact OPIC to discuss their funding needs prior to submitting application materials.

OPIC can be a daunting agency to work with. A good point of entry is one of their loan originators, who will be a part of OPIC’s “Enterprise Development Network” (EDN). For information on how to access EDN members, contact Gary Colyar (Gcoly@opic.gov).

Rather less important for you will be OPIC’s political risk insurance. Information on OPIC’s insurance products can be found at: www.opic.gov/what-we-offer/political-risk-insurance.

1 North American Industrial Classification System: http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/