Obama Offers Millions in Technology Fund for Muslim Nations

Acting on President Obama’s announcement in Cairo, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) this week issued a call for proposals to manage a private equity investment fund or funds that will promote the growth of technology in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Establishment of the fund(s) is part of an ongoing U.S. government effort to expand partnerships that advance economic opportunity and job creation in emerging markets, including Muslim-majority countries.

OPIC will provide financing ranging between $25 million and $150 million in total capital for each fund or funds established.


In his June 4 speech at Cairo University, President Obama announced that the United States would launch a new fund “to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs.”

In response, OPIC is inviting proposals from qualified private equity fund managers to manage one or more investment funds that plan to invest in a wide variety of companies or projects that provide access to technologies in the OPIC-eligible countries.

The fund(s) will invest in sectors such as information technology, health care, education, infrastructure, telecommunications, media, business and financial services and clean technology. Examples of financed projects may include companies that help to foster the development of new technologies such as computer, information, media and telecommunications businesses, or provision of broadband access; companies in medical, pharmaceutical, and other biotechnology areas; investment in technology and telecommunications infrastructure, energy efficiency and smart-grid technologies; or technologies that address problems such as the shortage of clean water.

“Transfer of state-of-the-art technology, across a broad spectrum of sectors, is critical both to economic development in emerging markets and to the optimal provision of vital services such as health care,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “We look forward to supporting the establishment of investment funds that promote this goal, in support of President Obama’s announcement.”

OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy.

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.