U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, OPIC, Announces $50 Million Investment In Impact Investing Pioneer Root Capital

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, April 27, 2016 – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, announced today a renewed commitment to agricultural impact investor Root Capital. OPIC’s commitment, an increase to a $50 million financing facility, is Root Capital’s largest source of funding, and will significantly support Root Capital’s established on-lending program to rural, underserved businesses in Latin America and Africa.

"As the leading impact investor in the U.S. government, OPIC is excited to invest in high-impact sector projects that advance underserved populations in developing countries," said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. "OPIC’s continued partnership with Root Capital will further generate social and financial returns for small farmers in vulnerable environments, sustainably improving their livelihoods and cultivating prosperity in their communities."

Founded in 1999, Root Capital has provided nearly $950 million in loans to more than 600 small and growing agricultural businesses that collectively source from 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital's loans have helped its small business clients generate $1.5 billion in total revenue, $980 million of which has been paid directly to smallholder farmers.

OPIC, the U.S. government’s development bank, has been an impact investing pioneer — providing critical leadership and capital during both the Bush and Obama administrations — all while operating on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.

OPIC has been Root Capital’s largest investor since 2010, and the institution’s previous investment in Root Capital was critical in helping the organization rapidly scale and attract new investors. In the six years since OPIC’s first investment, Root Capital has more than quadrupled the amount lent to agricultural enterprises and doubled the number of farm families that it had reached in the 10 years prior.

"OPIC’s decision to increase their existing facility to $50 million is a vote of confidence in Root Capital," explained Willy Foote, Root Capital founder and CEO. "This facility is indispensable as we continue charting the course of our business, pushing the frontiers of agricultural finance, and supporting agricultural businesses as they generate stable employment for millions in some of the world’s poorest, most environmentally sensitive places. We’re extremely proud to work with OPIC, and honored by their commitment to improve farmer livelihoods around the world."


About Root Capital
Root Capital is an agricultural impact investor that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed nearly $950 million in credit to over 600 businesses, representing 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter.  For specific client examples, see: http://www.rootcapital.org/portfolio

About OPIC
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. 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, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. 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.

All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.