Developing countries present a unique challenge to financing climate-focused projects. Differing levels of development, political stability, and enormous transaction costs create barriers to private investment. Experts estimate that developing countries will require an annual investment of US$300 billion by 2020 to facilitate successful climate-change mitigation.
Two organizations, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and The Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), play a significant role in financing international climate-related projects. These organizations provide a number of financial tools, which borrowers may leverage to gain access to larger pools of investment. This third installment of the “Climate Finance” series from The World Resources Institute, examines the role that public financing agencies can play in developing attractive opportunities for private climate-related investment.
Unlocking Private Investment uses a case study approach to understand the significant challenges to climate-related project finance in developing countries. For example, Azure Power, a private solar energy service provider, received a US$6.2 million dollar direct loan from OPIC, financing the first mega-watt scale energy project to sell to the Indian energy grid. One year following the OPIC direct loan, having demonstrated project success, Azure Power received over US$17 million from OPIC and the IFC to fund an expansion project. Proven viability of the Indian solar project allowed Azure Power to access Ex-Im Bank financing and secure loans from a consortium of local private banks.
If not for the willingness of public financial institutions such as OPIC and the Ex-Im Bank, projects like Azure Power’s would fail to start.
The differentiation in services from these two agencies is a key takeaway from this case study. OPIC generally provides a smaller, higher risk financial package. When the borrower is able to demonstrate a project’s success, the Ex-Im Bank is able to provide larger, longer-term loan packages that allow for expansion.
Other case studies in this publication highlight the importance of tailoring traditional financial instruments to meet the specific needs of climate-sector projects. A few of these tools include:
- Direct Loans
- Loan Guarantees
- Policy Risk Insurance
- Export Credit Insurance
Understanding the challenges of climate-sector projects in developing countries creates an opportunity for policy makers to better accommodate the needs of private climate-focused investment. The “Climate Finance” series from the World Resources Institute fills an important information gap giving policy makers the tools they need to protect at-risk communities from the dangerous effects of global climate change.
For a full text version of the study Unlocking Private Investment: Focus on OPIC and Ex-Im Bank’s Use of Financial Instruments, visit www.wri.org
For the last few years every politician’s message has been create more jobs. Everything the US Government does is focused on job creation. Why is creating jobs the goal? The idea that job creation will fix the economy is a perfect example of treating the symptoms instead of the cause.
Politically is it very easy to create jobs. Any legislation that creates jobs is on the top of the agenda because happy, employed constituents keep politicians in office – and staying in office is the primary goal of most politicians. However, I wager that a healthy and thriving economy will also keep constituents happy and employed, and therefore keep politicians in office. The challenge that the United States faces today, is that good economic policies will likely seem, or even be negative in the short run.
A growing economy will create jobs. Job creation do not necessarily need legislative incentives, or tax breaks, or subsidies. Jobs will be created when they are necessary. The principle, put simply, is that a person should be hired only when their employment will create additional value for the company. If the rationale for employing an individual is purchasing power, the individual should not be hired. Moreover, if the only rationale for retaining employees is for their purchasing power in the economy, they should be fired.
Jobs are a cost, not a benefit. Anytime a change can be made that results in a company increasing its output without an associated increase in cost (aka maintaining output while decreasing the labor force, aka firing extra people) the change should be adopted. The law of supply and demand tells us that (in most circumstances) if we can decrease the cost of good or service, the demand of good or service will increase.
Demand creates supply. Increased demand will increase supply, because in general, producers like to make money. To keep up with additional demand, producers will increase their labor force, thus creating more jobs.
The Message. The United States does not need more jobs. If the politicians want to help, they should focus on reducing the cost of employment. Economics is a set of rules, failure to follow the rules will result in a shitty economy. How long will it take us to learn?
Time Magazine Wonders If “Google Can Solve Death”
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Penned by Anonymous, and first recited to me by Paul Wineman. . .
Let me live, oh mighty master,
Such a life as men should know,
Tasting triumph and disaster,
Joy, but not too much of woe.
Let me run the gamut over,
Let me fight and love and laugh,
And when I’m beneath the clover,
Let this be my epitaph:
Here lies one who took his chances
In this busy world of men,
Battled luck and circumstances,
Fought and fell and fought again,
Won sometimes, but did no crowing,
Lost sometimes, but did not wail,
Took his beatings and kept going,
And never let his courage fail.
Success as an Affirmative Defense
On August 12 the case concerning New York City’s Stop-and-Frisk Policies came to a close. Judge Schneidlin ruled that Stop-and-Frisk policies, no matter how effective, are unconstitutional. An article in Reuters discusses the outcome in more detail, and includes comments from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the more outspoken proponents of Stop-and-Frisk.
Mayor Bloomberg plans to appeal the Manhattan Federal Judge’s ruling in an attempt to maintain his reputation for reducing crime on New York’s streets. Mayor Bloomberg points to the effectiveness of Stop-and-Frisk to highlight the necessity of the program. Maybe success will be an effective affirmative defense in round two.