DFI Files: Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (CDP) – investing in economic growth across Italy and the developing world

By Daniil Filipenco

DFI Files: Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (CDP) – investing in economic growth across Italy and the developing world

Established on November 20, 1850 in Turin, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. (CDP) is the main institution in Italy that promotes economic growth through long-term investments at the municipal, regional, and national levels. Its primary goal is to promote Italy’s economic growth and economic progress.

The investment agency also serves as the government’s agent for carrying out directives on public policy. As the Italian Financial Institution for Development Cooperation, CDP provides a range of financial solutions to advance sustainable development in developing countries, acting as a classic Development Financial Institution (DFI) providing funds for private businesses operating in the development sector.

Back in its home country in key areas of the Italian economy, CDP supports both domestic and foreign investment. To promote investment initiatives and encourage economic progress, it works with both public and private institutions. In this way, Italian businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), can benefit from the financial help and assistance provided by CDP.

CDP investments in developing countries

The organization’s key objective is to promote sustainable growth in emerging nations by providing both public and private entities with a variety of financial instruments.

This scope was established after the Italian government together with the European Union officially acknowledged Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as the National Promotional Institute in 2015. Since January 2016, CDP has been able to manage public funds such as the Revolving Fund for Development Cooperation and finance public and private entities in developing countries using its own resources or in combination with resources from the European Commission or other donors, according to the DFI’s web site.

To reach its objective of promoting sustainable growth, CDP adheres to two fundamental strategic principles:

1. Assist public entities

  • By using public funds or bringing together its resources with those of third parties, CDP provides support to governments and other public entities.
  • CDP assists multilateral and international financial institutions via direct funding or the co-financing of certain investment initiatives in target countries.

2. Assist the private sector

  • CDP provides financing to businesses operating in target countries “at market rates” for activities consistent with collaboration targets.
  • CDP finances theme projects in high-impact industries by pooling its resources alongside those of other global and European institutions engaged in the growth of the finance sector.

All OECD-DAC nations, including those that Italy’s development cooperation strategy has prioritized, are eligible for CDP funding. The agency’s partner nations include emerging countries as well as Least Developed Countries which the UN classifies as having the lowest socioeconomic development levels worldwide.


Source: CDP

By focusing its financial programs on particular thematic areas that are crucial for fair and sustainable development, including employment and innovation, gender equality, and environmental protection, CDP aims to help the socio-economic growth of its partner countries.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti places main emphasis on the following sectors:

  • Social infrastructure
  • Environment
  • Micro, small, medium enterprises
  • Energy
  • Transport

CDP and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In line with the need to advance a more equitable and environmentally friendly development model as highlighted by the 2030 UN Agenda and its 17 SDGs, CDP continues to pay greater attention to the impact caused by its actions.

CDP has committed itself to 10 Areas of Action regarding the 2030 Agenda:

1. Energy transition
2. Circular economy
3. Preservation of local territories
4. Social infrastructure
5. Capital market.
6. Digitization
7. Technological innovation
8. Support strategic supply chains
9. International cooperation
10. Transport/logistics hubs

Source: CDP

In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals, CDP operates to ensure:

  • Access to renewable energy, supporting the energy shift, and tackling climate change.
  • Sustainable farming and food security.
  • Access to financing and financial inclusion for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

CDP selects initiatives that have a significant influence on the sustainable development of the target nation by boosting the financial inclusion of local enterprises, with the help of its loan lines to banks (both, private and public), microfinance organizations, as well as other financial institutions.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti corporate structure

Italy’s DFI is a publicly traded joint stock company which is majority-owned by the country’s Ministry for the Economy and Finance. Minority shareholders form the Bank Foundations which in turn support local communities in their social, civic, and cultural environments. 1.3% of its shares are owned by the Italian Treasury.

Due to its well-established network of European institutions and financial partners such as the European Investment Bank Group and National Promotional Institutions, the organization is an active player in several important projects at the European level. It constantly monitors and analyzes European policies and EU legislative proposals.

Source: CDP Strategic Plan, 2022-2024

CDP and InvestEU program

CDP holds a key position in the InvestEU program, a European initiative that will encourage job creation and investment in Europe between 2021 and 2027. The initiative aims to mobilize a minimum of 650 billion euros to carry out projects in SMEs, social investments, study, innovation, and digitalization.


In order to promote small and medium-sized businesses and mid-cap firms in the Western Balkans, CDP together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) runs the Enterprise Expansion Fund II (ENEF II). The EU and CDP are the two major investors in ENEF II, each contributing €19 million to the fund.

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