The U.S. House of Representatives Passes the BUILD Act
By Killian Kei-Boguinard
The House of Representatives passed “The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development” Act of 2018, also known as the BUILD Act, with broad-based bipartisan support on July 17. The BUILD Act, which was introduced in the House by Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA), consolidates multiple federal programs into one new Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for greater efficiency.
The Senate version of the legislation was passed by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on June 27 and is awaiting a Senate vote.
The BUILD Act aims to promote economic growth in developing economies through U.S. business investment and expands access to increased financing, including loans, allowances and various financial agreements.
Th Act would facilitate the operation of American businesses in developing countries by reducing the risk for American companies that seek to invest in emerging markets and creates a new mechanism to bolster government support for U.S. business investment.
U.S. government agencies heralded the passage of the BUILD Act. The White House issued a statement that expressed support of the bill’s passage and recognized that this bill is necessary due to the lack of private sector investments in emerging countries. The White House statement stated that it hoped the bill would catalyze market-based, private-sector development and economic growth and advance the foreign policy interests of the United States.
Ray Washburne, CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), said the BUILD ACT would allow the U.S. government to “be better equipped to drive economic growth in emerging markets and provide an alternative to state-directed initiatives that can leave developing countries worse off.” OPIC is the U.S. government’s development finance institution.
IGD supports legislation like the BUILD Act that fosters private sector growth and boosts trade and investment in Africa. The Frontier 100 Forum, to be held on Nov. 5 in Johannesburg, will focus on the evolving fintech landscape and innovative approaches to expanding access to finance, including public and private financing, for the private sector to boost U.S.-Africa trade and investment in key growth sectors.
The African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum, to be held on Nov. 7-9 in Johannesburg, is a transactional marketplace dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals. The Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Fair, taking place from Dec 11-17 in Cairo, Egypt, will provide a platform for sharing African trade, investment and market information and enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals to boost regional trade.
Killian Kei-Boguinard is a summer intern working with IGD’s Communications and Programs & Special Events offices.