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January 9, 2001
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean received a major boost today when the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD) signed a protocol agreement calling for the two agencies to become partners in attracting U.S. investment to the region.

The protocol agreement commits IACD to work with OPIC to encourage "private sector investment and participation in social and economic development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean," by enabling IACD to provide financial advice, business planning, project design and monitoring for projects the agency and OPIC develop jointly. In particular, IACD and OPIC will target projects which focus on education, information technology and poverty alleviation.

OPIC can provide up to $200 million in financing and $200 million in political risk insurance per project.

The IACD was established by the General Assembly of the Organization of the American States (OAS) in November 1999 to expand technical cooperation and training programs in order to accelerate development in the hemisphere.

Ron Scheman, Director General of the IACD, applauded OPIC's foresight and innovation in undertaking this pioneering initiative. "Private sector capacity in technology and finance is one of the most valuable tools for accelerating social and economic development in the hemisphere," he said. "The IACD has as one of its primary goals to open new avenues for the private sector to help train and equip the nations of the Americas to be competitive in the new century by taking advantage of the incredible revolution in communications and computer technology."

George Muņoz, OPIC President and CEO, said, "Latin America and the Caribbean by far represent the largest portion of OPIC’s overall portfolio, and OPIC devoted considerable resources in the past year to attract U.S. investment there. Today’s agreement will augment that effort with a new set of skills and resources. We at OPIC are pleased to work with IACD in a joint pursuit of economic development in a huge emerging market for U.S. goods and services, in a way that will raise the standard of living for as many people as possible."

OPIC is a self-sustaining federal agency that sells investment products to small, medium and large American businesses expanding into some 140 developing nations and emerging markets around the world. OPIC’s political risk insurance, project finance and investment funds fill a commercial void and support development in emerging economies. Since 1971, OPIC has supported $130 billion worth of investments that will generate $61 billion in U.S. exports and create more than 242,000 American jobs.