Senate Foreign Relations Committee advances bipartisan bill to bring private-sector money into fight against poverty

WASHINGTON — Following today’s markup in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of S. 2463, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, The ONE Campaign issued the below statement praising the Committee’s progress.

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

“The best tool for fighting extreme poverty is a good job, but the investment of America’s private sector in the economic growth of developing countries is currently massively under-utilized. Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bipartisan bill that will help bring tens of billions of private-sector dollars into the fight against extreme poverty by helping American entrepreneurs and investors do business in Africa, building infrastructure projects, creating first-time access to electricity, and expanding their reach in developing countries.

“The BUILD Act has earned the support of Republicans and Democrats in Congress because it is a smart, creative approach to helping people living in extreme poverty, and in partnership with foreign aid, could be a powerful force for good. We want to thank Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Bob Menendez for advancing this important bill. For the past five months, The ONE Campaign and its over 3 million members in the United States have enthusiastically campaigned on behalf of this legislation. We will not stop until this good idea becomes law.”

About the BUILD Act

The bill, which is sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), and Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-FL-03) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09), will establish a full-service, self-sustaining U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, reforming and streamlining the tools of OPIC, USAID’s Development Credit Authority and Enterprise Funds. It will have a full suite of tools including the authority to:

  • Issue direct loans, including local currency loans
  • Issue guarantees, including local currency guarantees
  • Provide political risk insurance
  • Fund first losses
  • Participate in equity investments
  • Provide technical assistance
  • Make limited grants to unlock larger investments
  • Perform feasibility studies for prospective investments

The bill, which authorizes the new agency for seven years, will also double the amount of money the U.S. government currently lends for poverty reduction and broad-based economic growth in the world’s poorest countries.