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. 

A summary of the new strategy can be found here [1]. An event on 14 December will provide further detail. 

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. Full details of the appointment can be found here. [2] 

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. 

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