CAIRO, (Reuters) – A U.S. trade promotion agency will invest up to $455 million in five private equity funds in the Middle East and North Africa as part of President Barack Obama’s push to boost ties with the Muslim world.
The financing is in response to Obama’s speech in Cairo last year, in which he said the United States would set up a fund to develop technology in Muslim-majority countries, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) said on Thursday.
OPIC said it approved up to $150 million for a fund to be run by a company owned by Kuwait Projects Co. (KIPCO), Kuwait’s largest investment firm, and up to $150 million for a fund managed by Dubai-based Abraaj Capital.
It will also invest $100 million in a fund managed by a subsidiary of Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital.
OPIC will put $30 million into a fund run by Ramallah-based Siraj Fund Management Company, aimed mostly at start-ups and small businesses in the Palestinian territories.
OPIC is an agency of the U.S. government whose aims include helping U.S. businesses invest overseas, encouraging economic development in emerging markets and supporting U.S. foreign policy.