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OPIC Funds Help Supply Kenyans with Potable Water

Wells will promote good health, reduce water-borne diseases

OPIC logo
Overseas Private Investment Corporation logo. (OPIC photo)

By Charles W. Corey
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- A U.S. company will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to drill potable water wells in rural areas of Kenya, providing scores of communities with access to clean water, OPIC President Robert Mosbacher Jr. announced March 8.

According to an OPIC press release, the agency will provide a $500,000 loan to Living Water International (LWI), a Texas-based nonprofit organization, for the purchase of equipment -- a high-capacity drilling rig, two supply trucks, an air compressor and two pumping service trucks -- that will enable LWI to drill 70 more wells per year in Kenya and reduce a backlog of 500 requests.

As each borehole is being drilled, LWI crews will provide local inhabitants with instruction on water hygiene.  After drilling is completed, the OPIC press release says, LWI will provide training in well operation and maintenance.

The loan for the current project is OPIC's third to LWI.  In 2001, the agency provided a $200,000 loan to enable LWI to purchase equipment and supplies to drill approximately 150 wells in Kenya.  In 2002, a $100,000 OPIC loan enabled LWI to drill more than 200 wells in Ghana.

"Living Water International's wells have provided thousands of people in rural areas of Kenya -- among several countries -- access to clean drinking water, in the process promoting good health and reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid," Mosbacher said.

Since its inception in 1991, LWI has drilled more than 2,200 wells in various countries worldwide.

OPIC, established as a U.S. government agency in 1971, helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment and supports U.S. foreign policy.  Because it charges market-based fees for its products, OPIC is self-sustaining, with no net cost to U.S. taxpayers.

OPIC's political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide.  During the agency's 33-year history, it has supported $164 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries generate more than 732,000 host-country jobs and $13 billion in host-government revenues.

OPIC projects also have generated $69 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 264,000 American jobs.

Created: 09 Mar 2006 Updated: 09 Mar 2006

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