The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an American government agency that promotes private investment in developing nations, has been a contested agency since its inception. Critics contend that it subsidizes big business, distorts market signals, and supports projects that have a detrimental effect on local communities. Its supporters argue that it is central to the U.S. foreign development-assistance strategy. In this article, I analyze the historical debate over its role and show how systemic and domestic pressures triggered adjustments in its activities that enabled its survival. I illustrate these adjustments with an analysis of its role in sub-Saharan Africa that draws out both the promotion of U.S. economic interests and the evolution of progressive governance guidelines that increase its chances of promoting sustainable development.


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pp. 66-86
Launched on MUSE
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