Oxfam praised the passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act) by the Senate today, following last week’s passage by the House of Representatives.
“The BUILD Act will help continue US leadership in the fight against poverty and opening up new economic markets, which has been good for US business, trade opportunities, while helping create a safer more prosperous world for us all,” said Aria Grabowski, Senior Policy Advisor on Aid and Development Finance at Oxfam America. “We thank Representatives Ted Yoho and Adam Smith, and Senators Bob Corker and Chris Coons for their leadership in bringing the BUILD Act about, and all of the Representatives and Senators who worked to create a Development Finance Institution that takes US development cooperation into the 21st century, while still protecting the vulnerable and ensuring that they are not left behind.”
The BUILD Act seeks to modernize development finance by creating a new institution with authorities for equity investments in addition to loans, guarantees, and enterprise funds, and by doubling the amount of financing available at any given time to developing countries. In partnership with the private sector, this innovative approach would allow the United States to help poor countries develop their economies in sustainable and meaningful ways.
“For decades, the United States has been the world’s leader in supporting poverty reduction in emerging markets and fragile countries, but it needs to modernize and streamline its development finance tools so it doesn’t lose its competitive edge,” continued Grabowski. “That’s why it’s so heartening to see a strong bipartisan effort to consolidate existing tools and create new ones in an innovative US International Development Finance Corporation that is both full-service and self-sustaining.”
Since it was introduced, Congress has improved on previous versions of the bill by including gender disaggregated data and ensuring women and girls will also benefit. Congress also strengthened language around human rights, labor and environmental standards, and improved transparency by including project-level reporting.
“The BUILD Act has the potential to showcase the best of US overseas lending: building up the economies of developing countries to create the trading partners of tomorrow for American companies and goods,” continued Grabowski. “We urge the President to sign this important piece of legislation.”