OPIC insurance to help upgrade land registry in Antigua and Barbuda

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Political risk insurance from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will enable a U.S. company to introduce a state-of-the-art land registry system to Antigua and Barbuda, setting the stage for increased investment in real estate-related sectors such as tourism in the country, and potentially throughout the eastern Caribbean.

OPIC will provide $669,000 in insurance to Stewart Information International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC), to partially cover the installation cost of the Stewart Landfolio® system for land registry, land cadastre and property taxation, according to a three-year licensing agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda. Working through the country's Registrar and Land and Survey Office, the system provides day-to-day processing of records and documents, and improves the entering of information and instructions, as well as the ability to locate and access documents.

Once implemented, the Landfolio system will provide Antigua and Barbuda with the registration and title infrastructure necessary for development of a transparent and sophisticated real estate market, as well as raise revenue for the government in the form of property registration fees and more effective property taxation.

The project is the pilot program for an initiative, called the Eastern Caribbean Project (ECP), that would deploy the Landfolio system to other member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The result of a partnership between Stewart and the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development, a division of the Organization of American States, the ECP aims to create a standardized land registry system throughout the region to encourage the introduction of investment capital.

"Establishment of a comprehensive system for property taxation and titling should encourage investment in sectors of Antigua and Barbuda's economy such as tourism, by reducing uncertainties for investors," said OPIC President and CEO Robert Mosbacher, Jr. "OPIC is pleased to work with a U.S. company on a project with so much developmental potential for the country and the region."

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. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.

OPIC's political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide. Over the agency's 33-year history, OPIC has supported $164 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate more than 732,000 host-country jobs and $13 billion in host-government revenues. OPIC projects have also generated $69 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 264,000 American jobs.

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