Vibhuti Jain joined DFC in January as Regional Director for Africa. In this role, she will work with a new regional team of Africa Investment Advisors to source new projects to advance development in a region that is a key DFC priority.
What led you to work at DFC?
I’ve been interested in international development since I studied development economics as an undergraduate but I ended up starting my career in corporate law. My first foray into development was working as in-house counsel for Millennium Promise, an NGO founded by economist Jeffrey Sachs and focused on ending poverty in some of the poorest regions in the world. I later worked for the USAID Power Africa energy access program. My role at DFC brings together my transactional background as a lawyer and my interest in supporting economic development in Africa.
How is DFC using its expanded tools and resources to advance development in Africa?
Given our focus in lower income economies and our expanded flexibility, we are able to work with a broader set of partners, and I’m focused on cultivating new client relationships. We are also looking at how we can use our new financing products including equity to work with earlier stage enterprises that may not be suited to take on debt. In addition, there is a lot of market interest in our technical assistance program which offers great potential to complement longer-term DFC financing.
What are some of the most effective ways DFC can mobilize investment to have a sustained impact?
A first step to growing our portfolio will be leveraging our new regional team for business development, deal sourcing, and to provide market intelligence in several sectors. We are also taking a very close look at how we can do more in key sectors, like critical infrastructure. There is tremendous need for investment in logistics, transportation, ports of entry, and information technology—basically anything that reduces the cost of moving goods, people and information. Investing in infrastructure can unlock longer term economic growth across the continent.