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Global Communities Receives OPIC’s 2015 Impact Award for its Support to Entrepreneurs in Lebanon
Published 05/19/2015 by Global Communities
Global Communities Receives Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s 2015 Impact Award for Access to Finance for its Support to Entrepreneurs in Lebanon
Washington, DC – Global Communities is pleased to announce that it has received the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC) 2015 Impact Award for Access to Finance for the work of Vitas Lebanon, its microfinance institution in Lebanon. OPIC’s Impact Awards, presented in a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are awarded to seven of the Agency’s partner businesses that have exceptional achievements in international private-sector development and exemplify the breadth of geography, size, sector and positive impact that can result from OPIC support.
Catalyzed by a $20 million financing commitment from OPIC, Vitas Lebanon, has made over 36,000 loans worth over $69.5 million dollars to underserved entrepreneurs and households since it began in 2007. Of this total amount, just over $600,000 was required to cover defaulted loans, an amount which comes to only 0.8% of total loans made. The impact of the facility goes far beyond just the numbers; however, in jobs created and lives improved. In addition, this facility sparked a new phase of innovation and partnership between Global Communities and OPIC, with a total of four additional loan guaranty facilities being signed between the two institutions between 2007 and 2014, including a second facility in Lebanon.
“OPIC has been an invaluable partner in our work to expand access to financial services in Lebanon and across the globe,” said David Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities. “Thanks to their support and our dedicated Vitas staff both on the ground in Lebanon and in our Maryland headquarters, we have helped have a positive impact on the lives of countless entrepreneurs and households when they most desperately need it. I am honored that OPIC has seen fit to recognize their work, and look forward to our partnership creating more success stories.”
“Our partnership with OPIC began as a response to the 2006 war, at a time when our partner banks were reluctant to provide funding, but households and entrepreneurs across Lebanon were most in need,” said Zaid Halaby, General Manager of Vitas Lebanon. “Not only did OPIC help restore the confidence of our existing partners, it helped open new opportunities for us to work with new banks. Turmoil continues today in Lebanon, but the strength of our partnerships with organizations like OPIC helps us to provide stability to our clients in uncertain times. We look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come, helping those who need it most.”
ABOUT VITAS LEBANON
Vitas Lebanon was founded by Global Communities in 1999 as a micro-credit program and is now a leading microfinance institution in Lebanon. Vitas became a shareholding company in 2003, and in 2007 registered with the Central Bank of Lebanon to become the first Lebanese financial institution specializing in microfinance. In 2012, the company’s entry to Vitas Group and resulting investment capital enabled it to expand direct lending capacities, thereby drastically increasing their ability to bring commercial capital to low-income communities who are underserved by traditional financial markets. For more information visit www.vitaslebanon.com or www.vitasgroup.com.
ABOUT GLOBAL COMMUNITIES
Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities began working in Lebanon in 1999, and believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve 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 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 such high standards, OPIC helps raise the industry and regional standards of the countries in which its projects operate. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.