CDC expands strategy; appoints first female chairperson

By Beena Parmar

  • 25 Nov 2021

UK’s development finance institution (DFI), CDC Group, which will rename itself as British International Investment beginning April 2022, has added South East Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region as its new focus area for business expansion. 

It has also appointed former Google executive Diana Layfield as its new chairperson. 

Layfield is the first woman to be appointed as chairperson and will be taking charge from Graham Wrigley, who will be stepping down early in 2022 after a transitional period. 

The British impact investor’s five-year strategy is now “tilting to the Indo-Pacific," the statement said. 

Historically, CDC has focussed on South Asia and Africa.

Its investment approach in Asia will include the Indo-Pacific region and its investment focus areas will include green finance, clean energy and infrastructure, and technology, the company said. 

Indo-Pacific region includes Southeast Asian countries, South Asian countries including India, and others such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.  

“This new strategy will enable CDC to go even further and expand into new markets in South 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," CDC said.

The next strategy period begins on 1 January, 2022 and stretches till the end of 2026, it added. 

“The aim is to invest £1.5 - £2 billion (approximately Rs 14,887-20,000 crore) per annum over the period.

Having invested in Asia for over 30 years, with a portfolio valued at $2.2 billion (around Rs 16,400 crore), CDC’s new strategy builds on its evolving understanding of market needs across the region,” the statement said.  

CDC recently announced the intention to invest up to $1 billion in climate funding in India over the next five years. Its infrastructure investee partners include Ayana Renewable Power (Ayana), an Indian renewable energy platform, and Zephyr Power, a wind farm in Pakistan. 

Last month, it also announced an investment of $70 million into the Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF), India’s first dedicated climate change fund. CDC launched the renewable energy platform in late 2017. 

Over the last four years, CDC has invested over $1 billion in climate finance across Africa and South Asia. 

CDC has an existing $2 billion portfolio in India. Globally, in the past five years CDC has invested close to £7 billion (around Rs 69,500 crore).  

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