The Corporation of Private Investments Abroad (OPIC, for its acronym in English) of the United States is interested in supporting projects for the "development of priorities in the Panama Canal or its surrounding areas," the US embassy reported today.
OPIC Executive President Ray Washburne visited Panama and met with representatives of the Interoceanic Highway Authority "to study areas where OPIC can support the development of priorities in the Canal or its surrounding areas," said the diplomatic legation.
The United States is the main user of the Panama Canal, which it built and managed from 1914 until December 31, 1999, when it was transferred to the Panamanian Government.
OPIC is a self-sustaining agency of the US Government that mobilizes private capital for projects with development components, and in Panama it is already involved in several of them for more than 300 million dollars, according to official information.
During his visit to Panama, Washburne met with the country's president, Juan Carlos Varela, to discuss how this agency "can support important projects for Panama, highlighting the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries."
"We anticipate investing in Panama in projects with fair and transparent processes, which also have a strong development impact on the local economy," said Washburne, according to the public statement released Tuesday by the US embassy.
The letter said OPIC supports US investment in emerging markets and encourages job creation and growth in markets outside and within the United States.
The agency provides different businesses with financing services, political risk insurance and partnership opportunities with private equity investment fund managers, said the diplomatic legation.
He specified that in Panama, "OPIC directly supports projects calculated at more than 300 million dollars", being an "active partner in supporting and facilitating credit to small and medium enterprises".
The US agency has supported the development of low-budget housing projects and has facilitated access to mortgage loans for these homes in Panama.
"In support of the renewable energy goals of Panama, OPIC has allocated funds for solar energy projects in the provinces of Herrera, Los Santos and Coclé," the official information added.
The business manager of the US embassy in Panama, Roxanne Cabral, stressed that "the work of OPIC highlights the firm commitment of the United States to Panamanians."