On October 5, 2018, President Trump signed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act into law – landmark legislation that will soon reform and strengthen U.S. development finance capabilities into a new federal agency to help address development challenges and foreign policy priorities of the United States.
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is a modern, consolidated agency that brings together the capabilities of OPIC and USAID’s Development Credit Authority, while introducing new and innovative financial products to better bring private capital to the developing world. The U.S. will have more flexibility to support investments in developing countries to drive economic growth, create stability, and improve livelihoods.
DFC makes America a stronger and more competitive leader on the global development stage, with greater ability to partner with allies on transformative projects and provide financially-sound alternatives to state-directed initiatives that can leave developing countries worse off.
DFC's work takes a Triple Aim approach as our investments focus on impactful global development, advancing U.S. foreign policy, and generating returns for American taxpayers.
What is the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation?
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), launched with bipartisan support in 2019, mobilizes private investment to projects in emerging markets that support development, advance American foreign policy, and improve lives. DFC provides tools like financing, political risk insurance, and support for emerging market private equity funds when sufficient commercial financing cannot be obtained. Projects supported by DFC build critical infrastructure and expand access to key services such as healthcare, technology, and small business financing. All DFC projects adhere to high standards on the environment, human rights, and worker rights.
Is DFC part of the U.S. Government?
Yes. DFC was established in 2019 through the passage of the BUILD, or Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development, Act which strengthened and modernized American development finance. The BUILD Act combined the capabilities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Development Credit Authority which had previously been housed in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Are DFC services taxpayer funded?
No. DFC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
Why is DFC important to the United States?
DFC advances American foreign policy and American commercial competitiveness. The investments DFC mobilizes serve as stabilizing forces in developing countries around the world, including some of the world’s poorest countries and regions affected by conflict. Investment in these markets also helps American businesses gain footholds in many of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
How does DFC support development in emerging markets?
- Equity Financing Direct equity and support for investment funds
- Debt Financing Direct loans and guaranties of up to $500 million for tenors as long as 20 years, with specific programs targeting small and medium U.S. businesses
- Political Risk Insurance Coverage of up to $500 million against losses due to currency inconvertibility, government interference, and political violence including terrorism. DFC also offers reinsurance to increase underwriting capacity
- Technical Development Feasibility studies and technical assistance accelerate project identification and preparation to better attract and support private investment in development outcomes
Which projects are eligible for DFC support?
All projects DFC supports must be based in countries where DFC is authorized to do business, meet DFC investment standards, and have a strong track record in the industry.
What types of projects does DFC support?
DFC supports projects in a variety of industries from critical infrastructure to power generation, healthcare, agriculture, technology, and financial services.
How is DFC different from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation?
Key changes include:
- Equity Authority In addition to debt financing DFC has the ability to make equity investments, a tool widely used in development finance
- A Higher Investment Cap DFC has a total investment limit of $60 billion, more than double OPIC’s $29 billion investment cap
- Technical Assistance and Feasibility Studies DFC has new tools that will enable it to be more proactive in identifying and addressing development needs around the world
- Increased Cooperation with the State Department and USAID DFC supports and complements other U.S. Government tools that advance development and American foreign policy
- Strong Focus on Lower-Income Countries DFC is focused on promoting inclusive economic growth in the world’s least developed countries
How is DFC’s approach to development different from that of China?
DFC supports an economically-viable form of private sector-led investment, offering a robust alternative to state-directed investment which often leaves countries saddled with debt.
Does DFC replace grant-based foreign aid?
No. DFC's work complements the work of U.S. Government aid programs.