Overseas Private Investment Corporation now has the mandate to invest in private equity, following passage of a new law by President Trump.
Trump signed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act into law on Friday, more than seven months after it was introduced into legislation. Under the BUILD Act, OPIC will be combined with USAID’s Development Credit Authority, USAID’s Enterprise Funds and other programs to form the US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).
Trump’s administration will have 120 days to present a reorganisation plan to Congress to transfer agencies, personnel, assets and obligations to the IDFC, OPIC said in a statement. OPIC will continue its normal business operations during this transition period.
The new agency will be able to invest in equity in private companies abroad. That is a significant change for OPIC, which was only allowed to invest in debt overseas in the form of direct loans and guaranties, as well as providing political risk insurance.
“That this substantial proposal went from the president’s budget to his desk in just eight months is a recognition of the growing role development finance will play to meet development needs and advance US interests,” Ray Washburne, the president and chief executive of OPIC, said in a statement after the signing.
IDFC’s goal is to provide support for projects in low and lower middle-income countries that help advance US national security and economic interests. Investment-wise, IDFC will have the authority to issue direct loans, including local currency loans; issue guaranties, including local currency guaranties; provide political risk insurance; fund first losses; participate in equity investments; provide technical assistance; make limited grants to unlock larger investments; and attract private sector talent.
The law will decrease direct federal spending by $20 million over 10 years, OPIC said, citing the Congressional Budget Office.