ImpactAlpha, March 2 – The U.S. International Development Finance Corp., which replaced OPIC earlier this year, is adding new financing tools and increasing its ticket sizes of its small business-focused Portfolio for Impact. The lending program, launched in 2014 to support emerging markets social enterprises supporting local small businesses and access to basic services, like energy, healthcare and education, reached $100 million last year. It has invested in 22 projects and enterprises, including Kenya-based produce logistics company Twiga.
The expanded initiative, renamed Portfolio for Impact and Innovation, or Pi2, gives DFC the flexibility to invest up to $900 million via debt, equity and other mechanisms, like insurance and technical assistance. The fund’s largest ticket size is doubling to $10 million.
Portfolio for Impact and Innovation is among the first DFC’s early impact initiatives since officially transitioning from OPIC. It is also expanding its women-focused 2X Women’s Initiative (see, “New U.S. development finance agency expands toolkit for female fund managers”). A $30 million loan to India’s Sitara will expand mortgage financing for low-income households.
The new DFC also has made early commitments to gas projects in Latin America and Africa that may boost “development” but not always with positive environmental impact.