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US matches the Chinese in development financing

US avails USD 60 bln for LDC

Weeks after the USD 60 billion pledge by the Chinese government was announced to finance Africa; the US congress has passed a new investment bill which targets development sectors in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

During a teleconference with Manisha Singh, assistance secretary for business and economic affairs mentioned that the US congress has passed a new bill: Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act on Wednesday to increase its commitment and support to the African private sector. “The BUILD Act will more than double US development finance resources to USD 60 billion. This will mobilize the participation of the private sector as African countries continue to prosper economically,” the assistance secretary said.

In a follow up to that statement, The Reporter sent an emailed enquiry to clearly understand whether the White House is clearly subsidizing US companies overseas? An unnamed official from the state department wrote back stating that “the BUILD Act will catalyze market-based, private sector development and economic growth in less developed countries and advance foreign policy interests of the United States”. With that the official at the state department could not directly say whether the USD 60 billion development financing would mean the US is up to subsidizing its oversea companies. In addition to this, both the BUILD Act and the official did not mention which nation gets how much from the stated funds. Yet, the Act satisfies the administration’s goals in aligning its development financing with its foreign policy, to enhance competitiveness and the like.

 With regard to the intensified tariff skirmishes with China, some economists fear that Ethiopia and a couple of developing countries will feel the burn when the tariff saga grows into a full-scale trade war. When asked how the US administration looks at that concern; the state department wrote stating: “We want a result-oriented, constructive bilateral relationship with China. We will work with China to address trade imbalances, threats to U.S. and regional security, and global challenges. The statement also mentioned that, the US administration has expressed its longstanding concerns about China’s “unfair trade policies and practices” with our longstanding concerns from an economic point of view. Mentioning about the fate of Africa during the tariff standoff, the official stated that: “our sense is that African countries recognize the value of diversifying commercial ties, and recognize what American companies bring to the table, in terms of quality, state-of-the-art products and services, and reputable, reliable business practices”.