Truss revamps British development finance institution to deliver jobs and clean growth

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss

UK’s development finance institution renamed and refocused to boost investment and growth in Caribbean, Asia and Africa.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss today (25th November) launches a revamped British development finance institution that will invest billions in infrastructure and technology in low and middle income countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

The body, British International Investment (BII), will be a key part of the Government’s wider plans to mobilise up to £8bn a year of public and private sector investment in international projects by 2025. This will include BII partnering with capital markets and sovereign wealth funds to scale up financing and help the private sector move in.

The Foreign Secretary has agreed that BII will prioritise sustainable infrastructure investment to provide a clean, honest and reliable financing and avoid low and middle income countries being left with bad and unsustainable debt. It builds on the Prime Minister’s commitments at COP26 to help developing countries take advantage of clean technology and grow their economies sustainably, with the BII delivering billions in climate financing for projects like solar power, sustainable transport and disaster-resilient infrastructure over the next five years.

It is part of the UK’s network of liberty strategy that aims to deepen economic, security and development ties globally and bring more countries into the orbit of free-market economies while delivering jobs and growth in both the UK and developing world.

The Foreign Secretary will launch BII – formerly known as CDC – at the London Stock Exchange this morning, where she will open the market before a panel event with major businesses and investors.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary, Liz Truss, said:

When freedom-loving democracies invest in infrastructure and supply technical expertise, it makes countries freer, wealthier and more secure.

Too many countries are loading their balance sheets with unsustainable debt. Reliable and honest sources of finance are needed. Britain and our allies will provide that, with British International Investment a key delivery vehicle.

This is a win-win for all. It benefits Britain by creating jobs and opportunities for our people. And it helps grow economies across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean while drawing them closer towards free-market democracies and building a network of liberty across the world.

The BII will work under a new chair – Diana Layfield – and a new strategy that will work alongside UK Export Finance (UKEF) and DIT, bringing in UK expertise to:

  • Play to our strengths as a world-leading financial powerhouse, including partnering with capital markets and Sovereign Wealth Funds.
  • Pivot towards Asia – entering new markets in the Indo-Pacific – and the Caribbean.
  • Create markets for digital infrastructure, technology and renewable energy – including exploring opportunities such as small modular nuclear reactors like those being developed in Derbyshire. BII’s work will benefit the UK by creating opportunities in areas like project management, construction and clean energy.

Our investment will operate under a defined set of core principles including personal freedom, protection of property rights, and free markets. Investments will be high-standard, transparent and reliable.

Chief Executive of BII, Nick O’Donohoe said:

Our new name, British International Investment, builds on what has been a unique British success story at CDC, bringing the best of British finance, innovation, ethics and standards to developing economies.

Over the past five years we have invested close to £7 billion and mobilised billions more in Asia and Africa – and in doing so have backed businesses that employ over 900,000 people and have paid in excess of £10 billion in taxes.

This new strategy will allow us to invest further in even more countries and will result in us financing the critical infrastructure that will allow all countries to build back better and make a positive difference to countless lives.

BII will help deliver the UK’s Clean Green Initiative, Britain’s contribution to the G7 Build Back Better World initiative to achieve a step change in development finance. It will support our work to co-invest with allies and partners in honest, clean and reliable infrastructure in low and middle-income countries. The launch is part of a package of new tools and expertise to help countries build the pipeline for investment and scale up infrastructure investment. Further detail will be set out in due course.

Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

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