PM discusses energy and entrepreneurship with US investment corporation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis held productive discussions with senior officials of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the United States Embassy at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday, May 20, 2019.

The visit by OPIC is a follow through to a meeting between United States President Donald J. Trump and a group of Caribbean leaders in March 2019, when a greater role for OPIC in the region was discussed, and the President committed to foster economic growth and strengthen security cooperation in the Caribbean.

“We are encouraged by these talks and the possible opportunities it may present for The Bahamas, particularly in the areas of energy and entrepreneurship,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

OPIC has expressed an interest in collaborating on energy development projects in The Bahamas and providing grants and/or loans for micro and small businesses, particularly for women entrepreneurs.

The corporation is interested in supporting projects related to Family Islands power generation using non-oil sources, including solar, and using LNG to produce power in the Family Islands.

OPIC is a self-sustaining US government agency that helps businesses invest in emerging markets, with an emphasis on developing countries.

The corporation’s projects in the region include small business lending, power generation, agriculture and low-income mortgage lending, tourism, affordable housing, impact investing, financial services and infrastructure.

While in The Bahamas, OPIC officials also met with senior government officials and executives of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Federation.

Historically, OPIC has provided over $19 million in assistance for a number of agriculture projects, government single family housing construction, a ship launch and entertainment facility and the purchase and refurbishment of a chemical company.

The OPIC delegation included David Bohigian, Acting President and CEO; Deaver Alexander, Senior Advisor, Managing Director for Energy; Cari Lutkins, Director for Strategic Initiatives; Amanda Burke, Deputy Vice-President for External Affairs; Kristie Pellecchia, Managing Director of the Western Hemisphere; and Brian O’Hanlon, Managing Director for Business Development, Structured Finance and Insurance.