USAID and OPIC Launch A New Initiative for African Entrepreneurs

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 6, 2009
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced February 20 the launched of a new initiative that will use OPIC's Enterprise Development Network (EDN) to provide technical assistance to small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new effort called the African Technical Assistance initiative, or EDN/ATA, aims to spur the development of small enterprise in Africa and provide African entrepreneurs with access to the capital and technical skills needed to enhance business production and competitiveness.

Both agencies say the initiative will increase the number of sustainable jobs in the region as well as provide a variety of other economic and social benefits. Entrepreneurs will be better equipped to handle their businesses, more credit-worthy projects will be funded, and capital to back the projects will be delivered with greater efficiency.

EDN/ATA will use at least $1.5 million to provide small grants averaging $25,000 to African entrepreneurs. SMEs can use these technical assistance grants to fund business activities such as:

  • expenditures to improve financial management, including a financial audit and compilation of financial records;
  • installation of a sound accounting systems, including software;
  • business consulting and business plan drafting;
  • market and feasibility studies; and
  • evaluations designed to improve existing operations.

SMEs requesting funding will be required to match the amount provided, but may find a sponsoring debt or equity provider to assist with the matching component. By April 15, USAID and OPIC will begin accepting applications from businesses and groups interested in becoming debt or equity-based EDN investors -- providing the organizations with access to the large number of enterprises expected to apply for grants under EDN/ATA.

For more information about this initiative, go to

For more information about OPIC visit For more information about USAID programs in sub-Saharan Africa visit