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Political risk insurance from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) will enable a US non-profit organisation to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure, through the repair of existing roads, construction of housing and schools, and development of water supply systems, Opic president and CEO Peter Watson has announced.

Opic will provide US$5mn in insurance to Shelter FOR Life International to cover vehicles, construction and communications equipment that the organisation is utilising in

  • Afghanistan. The equipment will enable Shelter FOR Life to carry out infrastructure and humanitarian projects throughout Afghanistan over the course of the next 10 years, in the process benefiting thousands of Afghans.

    “Provision of modern infrastructure will be vital to Afghanistan’s reconstruction, for it will serve the development of both commerce and human capital,” Watson says. “Opic is pleased to work with a US small business to help speed that process.”

    Shelter FOR Life International is a Wisconsin-based non-governmental organisation specializing in humanitarian relief & development services for internally displaced persons, refugees and disaster victims. Shelter FOR Life is currently active in Tajikistan, Macedonia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, with offices in each country. The organisation has operated in Afghanistan since 1998.

    The Opic-supported project is the second involving Shelter FOR Life: in February, Opic announced that it would provide political risk insurance to Iowa-based Vermeer Manufacturing Company for a compressed brick machine to be used by Shelter FOR Life in its reconstruction programs in Afghanistan.

    Watson notes that the project was approved by Opic’s new Small Business Center. The centre was established in October 2002 to provide qualified small businesses the opportunity to utilise Opic’s resources with improved customer service, flexible coverage, and easier access through a streamlined approval process.