CDC Group expands footprint across Asia, changes its name to British International Investment

By Laxman Datt Pant

CDC Group expands footprint across Asia, changes its name to British International Investment

The UK Government’s development finance institution, the CDC Group, has expanded its footprint across Asia by entering a new five-year strategy period oriented to the Indo-Pacific and changing its name to British International Investment (BII).

On November 25, Liz Truss MP, the UK’s Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities announced a number of forthcoming changes at the CDC Group, including a new name, a new strategy, and the appointment of a new Chair. According to the announcement, CDC will formally become BII on 4 April 2022. The new five-year strategy focuses on Asia, notably South East Asia.

Diana Layfield, the newly appointed Chairwoman, is CDC’s first female Chair in its 73-year history. Layfield is currently Google President, EMEA Partnerships, and a Non-Executive Director at AstraZeneca. She was formerly the Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, Africa Region.

Underscoring that BII will make investments that support the aspirations of entrepreneurs and businesses in a responsible and transparent manner, Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC, commented:

“We will be a trusted partner to countries across our markets that want to create sustainable and prosperous futures for their people.”

He added that BII would 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.

A new five-year Indo-Pacific strategy

  • The new strategy has three strategic objectives to invest in support of productive development, sustainable development, and inclusive development to meet the global opportunities and challenges including the need for jobs and inclusive growth and the twin crises of climate change and natural resource depletion
  • It aims to invest £1.5 – £2 billion per annum over the period
  • The strategy sets an ambition for scale and innovation in green finance, clean energy and infrastructure, and technology
  • Broadening out its investment approach in Asia to include the Indo-Pacific region, this new strategy is expected to enable BII to go even further and expand into new markets in South Asia and the Caribbean
  • It also highlights the company’s ability to build partnerships with like-minded organizations

Over the last five years, CDC has invested nearly £7 billion and mobilized a further £2.5 billion. In doing so, it has backed businesses that employ over 900,000 people and which have paid £10 billion in taxes. This more geographically diverse approach complements the organization’s existing strong profile in Africa and South Asia.