Since the 2008 global economic crisis, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have suffered disproportionately from the global liquidity contraction in the in the banking system. In recognition of this, SEAF and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) agreed to work together to address this gap in available financing. As the banking sector’s liquidity has become increasingly constrained, growth oriented businesses are facing new barriers to expansion, despite favorable economic and business trends in emerging markets. In January 2010, SEAF partnered with OPIC to establish the SEAF SME Debt Facility (SSDF) to provide essential financing for the continued growth and development of SMEs.
The partnership leverages the existing SEAF infrastructure, including fund management offices across Latin America, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe, with centralized credit review, risk management, and financial controls based in Washington, DC. The facility provides locally unavailable, long-term debt financing to SMEs across OPIC-eligible emerging markets to support sustainable business expansion and ensure long-term asset and liabilities capital alignment. This joint venture has significant development impacts by virtue of providing targeted SME lending across a diverse range of markets with a timely, efficient, and responsible approach. To further support the growth of expansionary businesses in SEAF’s portfolio, SSDF co-invests with the SEAF Global SME Facility or recent SEAF regional fund investments. As of 2010, SSDF had invested in a Polish book retailer, a leading Peruvian mango exporter, and a Peruvian logistics firm.