U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
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|Formed||December 20, 2019|
|Motto||Investing in Development|
The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is the development finance institution of the United States federal government, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries. First authorized on 5 October 2018, the independent agency was formed 20 December 2019 by merging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) with the Development Credit Authority of the United States Agency for International Development, as well as with several smaller offices and funds.
Beyond simply consolidating US foreign development assistance operations, the DFC was also granted greatly expanded lending authority; its overall lending capacity of $60 billion is more than double that of its predecessor institutions. The DFC's lending capacity is used to provide loans, loan guarantees, and insurance for development projects in lower-income countries undertaken by US businesses. As with the OPIC, the DFC is predominately self-funding through the fees and interest collected during its regular operations.
DFC officially began operations on December 20, 2019.
The BUILD Act
DFC was created through the passage of the BUILD Act, which consolidated the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Development Credit Authority (DCA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The BUILD Act was introduced to Congress with broad bipartisan support in February 2018 and signed into law by President Donald Trump on October 5, 2018.
The impetus for DFC was the notion that private investment could supplement conventional government-funded aid projects in the developing world. Hence, the Act stipulates that DFC will aim to provide an alternative to “state-directed investments by authoritarian governments," has also been highlighted by analysts as a response to China’s growing overseas investments. Such language is a euphemism for the Belt and Road Initiative - in other words, the DFC was intended as an American counterweight to China's neo-imperialistic projection of soft-power.
Key changes mandated by the BUILD Act include:
- The doubling of the investment cap to $60 billion
- New financial tools including equity financing, technical assistance, and feasibility studies
- The ability to use local currency loans and first-loss guarantees to reduce risk
- A “preference” for U.S. investors, rather than a requirement, thereby expanding partnership opportunities with foreign investors
- Prioritization of low- and lower-middle income countries
- Enhanced alignment with U.S. foreign policy in close coordination with counterparts like the U.S. Department of State
- A seven-year authorization
The changes are predicated on making DFC more responsive and cost effective.
Products and services
DFC helps companies manage the risks associated with investment in emerging markets by providing financial tools when they are unavailable or insufficient from commercial sources.
Direct equity and support for investment funds
Direct loans and guarantees of up to $1 billion for tenures as long as 25 years, with specific programs targeting small and medium U.S. businesses
Political Risk Insurance
Coverage of up to $1 billion against losses due to currency inconvertibility, government interference, and political violence including terrorism. DFC also offers reinsurance to increase underwriting capacity
Feasibility studies and technical assistance accelerate project identification and preparation to better attract and support private investment in development outcomes
DFC invests in sectors ranging from critical infrastructure, energy, and technology to healthcare and financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs. To ensure that all investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights, the agency monitors all projects from their inception to the conclusion of DFC financial support.
DFC’s investments span Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indo-Pacific, and emerging markets around the world with a focus on low- and lower middle-income countries. The agency considers investments in other countries that are important to U.S. foreign policy and national security or address key agency priorities such as women’s economic empowerment.
2X Women's Initiative
Launched by OPIC in March 2018, DFC’s 2X Women's Initiative has catalyzed more than $1 billion of investment in women globally. In addition to pursuing projects that are owned by, led by, or supporting women in the developing world, DFC applies a gender lens to all investments to ensure that women are receiving the net benefits of projects supported by the agency.
Through Connect Africa, originally announced by OPIC in July 2018, DFC is committed to investing $1 billion in transportation, information and communications technology, and value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve connectivity and support economic growth.
Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
In recognition of the great need for quality investment to spur continued economic growth across the Indo-Pacific as well as increasing instances of “debt trap” investments advanced by authoritarian regimes in the region, the Indo-Pacific has become a region of focus for DFC. DFC has prioritized the development of the region’s transportation, energy, and digital infrastructure through transparent, responsible, and private sector-led investments.
On May 14, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order which delegates authority to the DFC Chief Executive Officer to make loans to private institutions to support the response to COVID-19 or strengthen relevant supply chains.
2020 Kosovo–Serbia agreement
Pristina and Belgrade will work with U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and Export–Import Bank of the United States on memorandums of understanding to operationalize The Peace Highway between Niš and Pristina, the rail link between Pristina and Merdare, the rail link between Niš and Pristina, providing financing to support loans required for small and medium-sized enterprises, additional bilateral projects. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will open its office for full time presence in Belgrade, Serbia.
DFC is led by Adam S. Boehler, the agency’s first Chief Executive Officer. His nomination to lead the agency was announced by the White House on July 10, 2019 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 2019.
DFC is governed by a public-private Board of Directors and a Chief Executive Officer who oversees project approval.
- "President Donald J. Trump Signs H.R. 302 into Law". www.whitehouse.gov. White House. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
- Thrush, Glenn (2018-10-14). "Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China's Global Influence". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
- Runde, Daniel; Bandura, Romina. "The BUILD Act Has Passed: What's Next?". www.csis.org. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "Coordination Report". www.opic.gov. Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- Kliman, Daniel. "Leverage the new US International Development Finance Corporation to compete with China". www.thehill.com. The Hill. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
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U.S. International Development Finance Corporation