The Administration’s proposed skinny budget zeroes out the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution (DFI). There are multiple reasons why shuttering OPIC would cost US taxpayers, hurt American businesses, and harm markets abroad. Here’s another reason to like OPIC: it’s one of the most publicly accountable DFIs out there.
The US Development Policy Initiative at the Center for Global Development launched the Foreign Assistance Agency Briefs for a simple reason. Foreign assistance is in the spotlight, slated for significant budget cuts during the Trump administration, yet it remains poorly understood. The series of five briefs contained here provide a snapshot of the primary US foreign assistance agencies. And while these agencies implement nearly 90 percent of US development and humanitarian assistance, there are twenty agencies in total that implement aid-related programs. Additionally, the United States has the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which does not manage foreign assistance funds but uses other tools to catalyze private investment in developing countries.
Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has served as the US government’s development finance institution. OPIC works to mobilize private capital to address development challenges while advancing US foreign policy priorities—furthering strategic, development, economic, and political objectives. OPIC aims to catalyze investment abroad through loans, guarantees, and insurance, which enable OPIC to complement rather than compete with the private sector. The independent agency also plays a key role in helping US investors gain a foothold in emerging markets and is barred from supporting projects that could have a negative impact on the US economy.
The budget just released zeroes out the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the nation’s development finance institution. In an era where many government agencies are under threat, it may not be surprising that OPIC would come under fire. Yet, none of the arguments often used to justify killing off OPIC are logical. Here’s why.
OPIC and CDC are among the largest bilateral development finance institutions (DFIs). They are designed to use their funds to attract more private capital into developing markets through, for example, lending or insuring projects against political risk. CEOs Elizabeth Littlefield and Diana Noble discuss why the DFIs' business model is successful and how their institutions can do more.
Last week, AEI, CSIS, and CGD hosted a terrific forum with the heads of the British, German, Norwegian, and American development finance institutions (DFIs). It was billed as “$50 billion in one room,” a reference to the vast amounts of capital that these organizations bring to the table for development. Here’s what I took away from the session.
With the release of OPIC’s 2015 annual report, we have now updated CGD’s OPIC Scraped Portfolio database with detailed information on 90 new project commitments. So what does the rundown look like? Three key points stood out to us.