CDC Group to scale up its investments in Africa


CDC Group’s next five-year strategy builds on its understanding of evolving market dynamics, scales commitment to Africa and sets new ambitions for investing in innovation and digital transformation.

Appoints Diana Layfield as its new Chair to succeed Sir Graham Wrigley. Updates its name to British International Investment, signifying the broader scope of its new strategy across its markets. Will continue to prioritise addressing the climate emergency and champion diversity and inclusion across its markets and sectors.

CDC is the UK Government’s international impact investor with a mission to help solve the biggest global development challenges by investing patient, flexible capital to support private-sector growth and innovation.

Entering a new five-year strategy period, CDC operates in five-year strategy periods, which are agreed and ratified by its shareholder, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, part of the UK Government. Its next strategy period begins on 1 January 2022 and runs until the end of 2026. The aim is to invest £1.5 – £2 billion per annum over the period.

Having invested £4 billion in Africa since 2017, CDC’s new strategy builds on its 74-year history and track record of investing for impact and sets a new ambition for scale in Africa, digital transformation, and innovation.

CDC will invest across a range of vital sectors that catalyse new global opportunities and address complex development challenges, such as infrastructure, which is critical to raising productivity and competitiveness and improving the livelihoods of communities and cities across the continent.

CDC’s infrastructure investee partners include Globeleq, a leading independent power producer with investments in Cuamba (Mozambique), Benban Solar Park (Egypt) and Malindi Solar Group (East Africa); Liquid Telecom the largest independent fibre and cloud provider in Africa and its recent Gateway partnership that sees CDC collaborating with DP World to chart a stronger course for African trade around the world. See Appendix for more details about its portfolio across all sectors.

This strategy will enable CDC to go even further and add new markets in South East Asia and the Caribbean. The new strategy has a set of three strategic objectives to invest in support of Productive development, Sustainable development and Inclusive development to meet the global opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, including the need for jobs and inclusive growth and the twin crises of climate change and natural resource depletion.

It focuses on climate investment, including in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in the larger economies of Philippines, Indonesia and the Mekong region (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos), with a particular emphasis on the renewables sector.

There will be an expanded remit into the Caribbean which will have a similar investment focus. It recognises the vital importance of infrastructure including digital in bringing large scale impact to enable enterprise and benefit millions of people.

It means more investment in earlier-stage, disruptive businesses that offer radical solutions to the problems facing developing economies. It also highlights the company’s ability to build partnerships with like-minded organisations. That includes using its proximity to the City of London to mobilise commercial investors to cement the UK’s status as a development finance hub.

This more geographically diverse approach complements the organisation’s existing strong profile in Africa and South Asia. In the past five years CDC has invested close to £7 billion and mobilised a further £2.5 billion – and in doing so it has backed businesses that employ over 900,000 people and which have paid in excess of £10 billion in taxes.

The strategy will bring the best of British finance, innovation, ethics, and standards to create sustainable and equitable economic outcomes for those that are most in need of investment support, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC, said: “Building on CDC’s legacy, British International Investment will make investments that support the aspirations of entrepreneurs and businesses in a responsible and transparent manner.

“We will be a trusted partner to some of the countries across our markets that want to create sustainable and prosperous futures for their people. We will deliver on the UK’s promise to support emerging economies to combat the climate emergency and track the impact of each investment to ensure every penny is used productively.”

New Chair, Ms Truss also announced the appointment of Diana Layfield, as CDC’s first female Chair in its 73-year history. She will succeed Sir Graham Wrigley who was appointed in 2013 and will be stepping down, as previously announced, early in 2022 after a transitional period.

Ms Layfield joins the organisation with an outstanding international business career and considerable experience in emerging markets. She is currently Google President, EMEA Partnerships and a Non-Executive Director at AstraZeneca. She was formerly the Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, Africa Region. Ms Layfield was appointed following a competitive process. She takes up her role as Chair on 1 January 2021.

CDC to become British International Investment, CDC is changing its name to British International Investment. The new name signifies the increased breadth of what the organisation already does and highlights its role as part of the UK Government’s international financing offer, working to bring not just capital, but the highest levels of governance, standards and transparency to its investments. CDC will formally become British International Investment plc on 4 April 2022.

CDC has 74 years’ experience investing across Africa. Situated in 8 locations across the Continent, it has a portfolio value of over $4billion, with over 600 local businesses. This year CDC aims to invest up to $1bn in Africa. Further portfolio highlights include: ETG, AfricInvest, Novastar, Zambeef, Equity Bank, Access Bank plc, Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Project among many more.

CDC Group is the UK Government’s international impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in Asia and Africa. Under its new strategy its geographical mandate will be expanded to include Indo-Pacific countries and the Caribbean. More detail about the next strategy period will be made available on 14 December 2021. CDC will become British International Investment plc on 4 April 2022.

The company is a leading player in the fight against climate change and has committed more than £700m of climate finance over the last four years. It plans to invest over £3 billion in climate finance between 2022 and 2026

CDC is also a founding member of the 2X challenge which has raised $10bn to empower women’s economic development. The company has investments in over 1000 businesses in emerging economies and total assets of £6.9 billion. In 2020, CDC committed over of £1.1 billion to businesses in Asia and Africa and aims to invest up to £1.3 billion in 2021 – with a focus on driving inclusive growth, job creation and supporting economic recovery from COVID-19.

CDC is funded by the UK government and is a champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. All proceeds from CDC’s investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Asia and Africa. CDC’s expertise makes it an ideal partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.

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