Visitors to Rwanda have long been captivated by the country’s natural beauty and its seemingly boundless potential that is evident everywhere, from the faces of young children to the fertile rolling hillsides.
Those hillsides provide nourishment for the people of Rwanda and today, the farmers who cultivate the hilly terrain all around Rwanda are providing high quality coffee to several of the world’s most prominent coffee retailers.
OPIC President and CEO Ray W Washburne meets with Rwandan President @PaulKagame, highlights U.S. investments in Rwanda. Visits @opicgov -supported coffee processing center @WestrockCoffee https://t.co/RjCZkWHgWq #OPICConnectAfrica @USAmbRwanda pic.twitter.com/G5n1XtPFCv
— OPIC.gov (@opicgov) July 12, 2018
By making this homegrown coffee a sought after product, local farmers are earning more income to invest in their homes, their children’s education and their communities.
Rwanda is blessed with a terrain that provides the optimal conditions for growing coffee as well as a hard-working workforce. Rwanda’s increased success on the world coffee market has also come in part with the support of investment to moderniseits coffee milling technology and provide training to thousands of farmers throughout the country.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a U.S. Government Agency that invests in development throughout the world and has supported multiple investments in Rwanda, including a tea plantation, a solar farm, as well as the revitalisation of the coffee sector.
We have seen all these investments empower the country and its people and we are committed to doing more.
This week as I travel to Rwanda as part of my first official tour of Africa, I am reaffirming OPIC’s commitment to Africa. OPIC’s new Connect Africa initiative aims to further integrate Sub-Saharan Africa into the global trade market.
In addition to focusing investment on transportation infrastructure like roads, ports, and airports, Connect Africa will invest in 21st century connectivity including telecommunications, technology, and value chains to help ensure more locally produced products can follow the success of Rwanda’s coffee sector and reach global markets.
As the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, OPIC understands that investment is important for creating jobs and promoting sustainable economic growth.
Our investments in Africa have helped build power plants, hospitals, and water treatment facilities, while providing small businesses and farmers the financial services needed to thrive.
More than one-quarter of our global $23 billion portfolio is invested in Sub-Saharan Africa and we have a long and successful history in Rwanda.
We also understand that Africa represents both a great need for more investment and a promising investment opportunity. Connect Africa builds on a number of successful initiatives to mobilize private investment to address longstanding challenges like poverty, while also preparing communities to meet the challenges of the future.
Through our support of the Power Africa Initiative, OPIC has committed more than $2.4 billion to 20 projects that will expand access to electricity.
More recently, OPIC launched the 2X women’s Initiative to mobilize $1 billion to projects to support the world’s women who are such a vital source of stability and economic growth in their communities.
With Connect Africa, we’re looking forward to a future in which all of Africa is actively engaged in the global economy, contributing its goods and services, increasing productivity and competitiveness and seeing the rewards.
We are all more connected than ever before and Africa’s future depends on it engaging with the world.
The writer is the President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.