U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has announced that it is launching the Africa Investment Advisor Program, which establishes a regional team based in Africa. The team will equip DFC to more proactively advance investments and expand its portfolio in this priority region, particularly as Africa continues to respond to both the health and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The launch of this team at a time when many investors are skittish about emerging markets underscores DFC’s commitment to Africa,” said DFC Managing Director for Africa Worku Gachou. “Now more than ever Africa needs private sector investment. DFC continues to see significant opportunity on the continent and is eager to leverage its new regional footprint to unlock that potential.”
“The deployment of DFC investment advisors to Africa advances one of our top priorities: increasing trade and investment between the United States and Africa,” said Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy. “The new advisors will complement and enhance our deal teams at U.S. embassies across the continent to create more opportunities for U.S. and African companies.”
The new regional team will consist of investment advisors based across East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, and the Horn of Africa. The advisors will be charged with sourcing investment opportunities across the continent, working alongside U.S. embassies and USAID missions, and supporting DFC colleagues in Washington by providing on-the-ground project due diligence and monitoring.
The positions will be funded by the U.S. Department of State and contracted through CrossBoundary, which was competitively awarded the program contract. CrossBoundary is an impact-driven investment and advisory firm with a long track-record in Sub-Saharan Africa and frontier markets globally.
The announcement comes at an especially critical time as COVID-19 continues to impact communities across Africa, where cumulative loss to GDP due to the pandemic is estimated to be as much as $236 billion by 2021. DFC can play a powerful role on the continent as commercial capital flees emerging markets across the world in response to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
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Africa is a leading DFC priority: the agency currently has roughly $8 billion invested across more than 300 projects on the continent. These investments are building critical infrastructure; expanding access to healthcare, energy, and technology; and advancing financial inclusion, particularly for small businesses and women entrepreneurs. Africa is also the focus of multiple DFC initiatives including Connect Africa, 2X Africa, and its Health and Prosperity Initiative.
DFC’s efforts in Africa also advance the Administration’s Prosper Africa initiative, which aims to channel the tools and resources of the U.S. Government to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa. In February, President Donald J. Trump selected DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler to serve as Executive Chairman of the initiative.