During his first official visit to Africa this week, DFC CEO Scott Nathan met with political and business leaders and signaled the agency’s commitment to mobilizing investment to improve food security, and expand access to critical services from electricity to technology.
DFC has almost $10 billion of active investments in Africa and has recently supported multiple transactions to boost vaccine manufacturing capacity, build power plants, and support smallholder farmers and small businesses.
Nathan met with Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone, where DFC financing is supporting construction of the country’s first major utility-scale power plant. In a country where only about one-quarter of the population has a reliable source of power, the DFC-supported power plant will increase generation capacity by about 75 percent and provide power for homes, businesses, and health facilities.
Sierra Leone is also one of multiple countries in Africa where DFC financing to Africell Holdings Limited is supporting expanded access to affordable Internet.
“Having reliable access to the internet is key to economic growth in the 21st century,” Nathan said during a visit to Africell in Freetown. “DFC focuses on opportunities where there is a financing gap… where our investment can provide a unique boost to private sector companies, entrepreneurs, and those advancing financial inclusion.”
Nathan also traveled to Nigeria, where he met with Minister of Finance Zaianab, along with current and prospective business partners, and signed a commitment letter with Access Bank Plc for financing to expand lending to small and medium businesses in the country. DFC’s $280 million loan is expected to support loans to at least 4,000 small and medium enterprises in Nigeria, including many that are owned by women or that have faced liquidity struggles because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, DFC has taken several steps to expand investment in Africa, establishing a team of investment advisors across the continent, and hosting a series of business development events to educate local businesses about the ways DFC can support them.