October 23, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO - Kiva Microfunds and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution, today announced that they have provided financial support to over 211,000 microentrepreneurs—more than 80 percent of whom are female—in developing countries through a $10 million OPIC loan.
OPIC’s loan represented Kiva’s first experience managing an interest-bearing vehicle for an institutional investor, and Kiva has repaid the loan in full and ahead of schedule. Because capital repaid on the OPIC loan was automatically lent out again, OPIC’s $10 million in financing deployed more than $26.8 million to individual borrowers across 30 developing countries. The Skoll Foundation also provided philanthropic capital to this blended finance transaction.
“OPIC is proud of its partnership with Kiva, which has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs—mostly women—unlock the financial resources they need to build thriving enterprises and transform their communities,” said OPIC’s David Bohigian. “This transaction, which combines private, public, and philanthropic capital, underscores the power of blended finance in helping us reach underserved individuals and communities across the world.”
Kiva was founded as an online platform that connects individuals lending as little as $25 to low-income entrepreneurs around the world. In 2017, OPIC provided $10 million in financing to help the San Francisco-based non-profit provide microloans that otherwise would not have been fully funded. Since receiving the loan, and inspired by the ability of a blended finance transaction to open up larger pools of capital to be lent to entrepreneurs around the globe, Kiva launched a new asset management subsidiary, Kiva Capital Management (“Kiva Capital”), through which it will support additional partnerships with impact-driven institutional investors like OPIC.
“We believe in the power of blended finance transactions to unlock much larger sums of capital to be put to work in communities around the world where it is needed most,” said Kiva Chief Executive Officer Neville Crawley. “The value that underserved communities place on idle capital available in the developed markets far exceeds the value institutional investors are able to reliably generate through traditional investment opportunities. Our successful partnership with OPIC is a perfect example of what we all can achieve if we work together to bridge this gap in the market.”
As part of its partnership with OPIC, Kiva was able to provide larger sums of financing to many of its field partners to fund loans in their local communities, mostly to female microentrepreneurs. Field partner recipients included MDO Humo, a microfinance institution in Tajikistan that received over $500,000 to support vulnerable and underserved populations living in rural areas, and ID Ghana, a microfinance NGO that received over $500,000 to provide financial and social services to underserved urban communities in Accra.
Field partners like these provide loans to aspiring microentrepreneurs worldwide to invest in their futures and to provide for their families and their communities. One of those borrowers was Habiba, a widow with three children living in the northern part of Tajikistan, who was struggling to provide for her family on her salary as a teacher. Habiba knew that starting a business was the only way to increase her income, so she received a loan to buy cattle and start selling milk to her community to help earn additional income and increase her financial potential.
The partnership advances OPIC and Kiva’s shared commitment to reaching women. Through its 2X Women’s Initiative, OPIC has catalyzed more than $1 billion in capital to businesses owned by, led by, or supporting women in developing countries. Earlier this month, Kiva also announced that it has facilitated more than $1 billion in loans to women in over 80 countries around the world.
Kiva is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. Kiva was founded in San Francisco in 2005, and is comprised of three primary impact-first business lines: Kiva.org, Kiva Protocol and Kiva Capital Management. Kiva’s crowdfunding platform, Kiva.org, allows individuals to lend as little as $25 to make a difference in someone’s life. Kiva Protocol aims to establish financial identity and credit history for unbanked populations using distributed ledger technology (DLT), with its inaugural project currently being implemented in Sierra Leone. Kiva Capital Management is a forthcoming subsidiary of Kiva that will operate as an impact-first asset manager connecting Kiva’s network of Field Partners with institutional capital, scaling Kiva’s ability to lend to underserved populations around the world.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity fund managers.
OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.