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The BUILD Act

Q.  What will the new agency be called?

  • The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will go by the acronym “USDFC” and be known colloquially as the “DFC.”

Q.  Why is the U.S. government creating a new agency?

  • The Administration recognizes the important role of development finance to advance our development and foreign policy goals, as was articulated in the National Security Strategy.  Yet the U.S. government’s development finance tools have not been significantly updated since OPIC’s inception in 1971. The new DFC will modernize the U.S. government’s capabilities to better partner with allies and provide financially-sound alternatives to state-led initiatives from countries like China.  

Q. How will the DFC be different?

  • Equity Authority: In addition to OPIC and DCA’s current financial capabilities (loans, loan guarantees, political risk insurance, and investment funds), the DFC will have the ability to make limited equity investments. This will give the U.S. the “full suite” of financial tools, allowing the DFC to better partner with allies and partners for greater development impact.
  • A Higher Investment Cap: The BUILD Act raises the total investment limitation for the DFC to $60 billion - more than double OPIC’s $29 billion investment cap - along with increased oversight.
  • Technical Assistance/Feasibility Studies: The DFC will have the ability to provide technical assistance and conduct feasibility studies specific to development finance projects.
  • Increased Integration and Coordination with the State Department and USAID: The DFC will work side by side with State and USAID to leverage each other’s tools and international presence.
  • Focus on the low-income and lower-middle income countries: Prioritizes low-income and low-middle income countries, where the DFC’s services will have the greatest impact.

Q: How is this different than China?

  • The DFC will advance private-sector-led development, resulting in projects that adhere to high standards and are financially viable over the long haul. Contracts will be transparent, financing is sustainable, economic and social impacts are properly assessed, and projects will help the local economy in many ways.
  • The DFC will help countries sidestep opaque and unsustainable debt traps being laid by Beijing throughout the developing world and help more American businesses invest in emerging markets, including many places that are of key strategic importance to the United States.

Q. Is this a replacement for grant-based foreign aid?

  • No. The DFC will be a strong complement to the work of other U.S. government aid programs.

Q. What does this mean for EXIM Bank?

  • The DFC will be the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and EXIM will continue to be its export credit agency.