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OPEC Fund loan to support agribusiness SMEs in Paraguay
April 19, 2023: The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is providing a US$50 million loan to Banco Continental S.A.E.C.A. for on-lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in agricultural and livestock sectors. The investment is part of OPEC Fund’s Food Security Action Plan and will supply financing needs of farmers, small agricultural and livestock SMEs, which are key for Paraguay’s economic sustainability and employment.
Agribusiness is a key economic driver of Paraguay’s economy and food exports: Beef products, soybeans, corn, rice and seeds are the primary source of the country’s foreign currency. Agribusiness SMEs also generate around 80 percent of employment. However, the sector is mostly underserved by financial institutions and businesses lack access to long-term financing due to associated risks like vulnerability to climate change. The OPEC Fund’s loan will provide much-needed finance to companies and promote financial inclusion and increased productivity.
OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said:
“Global food security is a priority area for the OPEC Fund and it is critical to support agribusinesses in food exporting countries such as Paraguay. Building on our strong partnership with Banco Continental, we are reaching businesses in this vital sector for Paraguay’s economy, ensuring that they have access to funds, increase links to global value chains and contribute to the economic sustainability in Paraguay.”
The OPEC Fund has provided two previous loans to Banco Continental amounting to US$25 million to promote international trade and support SMEs. The new loan is aligned with several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - SDG 1: No poverty; SDG 2: Zero hunger; and SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth.
In 2022, the OPEC Fund has launched its Food Security Action Plan, dedicating US$1 billion over the next three years to provide immediate assistance to cover the import costs of basic commodities such as seeds, grains and fertilizers, while supporting medium and long-term security of food supply in partner countries.
The OPEC Fund has supported Paraguay’s sustainable development since 1978, with more than US$600 million loans to date in support of transport, energy, agriculture, and water & sanitation projects.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$24 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$190 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA, Outlook Positive by S&P. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.