As part of its commitment to economic growth in Africa, United Kingdom’s impact investor and development finance institution (DFI), CDC Group, has listed Nigeria as one of the beneficiaries of a planned $1 billion investment in Africa during the current year.
CDC provides the much needed counter cyclical funding to local businesses and communities, as FDI continues to drop and it is committed to impact investor and DFIs, supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa.
According to a report on its website, the group unveiled plans at the UK-Africa Investment Conference to expand its Africa portfolio with new investments in key markets including Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya,and the continent’s harder-to-reach frontier markets where significant development gains can be made.
“As the world’s largest bilateral development investor in Africa, CDC has invested more than £2.7 billion in African businesses over the past three years. In 2019, CDC’s investments supported over 320,000 direct jobs in Africa, contributing close to $1.5 billion in taxes to local economies.
The commitment will enable CDC to invest in many more promising African entrepreneurs and SMEs, and continue to drive inclusive growth and job creation across the continent, where over half of the institution’s portfolio is now invested.
The funds will be invested in financial institutions, infrastructure and climate, services, manufacturing, agriculture, real estate and technology. In 2020, CDC committed over $1 billion into Africa with a focus on the economic recovery from COVID-19.
CDC injected systemic liquidity into financial markets, provided capital for companies that deliver critical goods and services, made new commitments to African funds and protected existing investees to help them sustain employment. Foreign direct investment into Africa is predicted to have declined by 30 per cent over the year. CDC’s maintained investment pace provides countercyclical funding at a critical time for the continent.
The fund’s invest-ment activity is equivalent to an ever-greater proportion of foreign direct investment into Africa. In an earlier interview with a national newspaper, CDC’s Country Director for Nigeria, Benson Adenuga, said Nigeria had established itself internationally as a key player on the continent and is West Africa’s financial hub.
“As Africa’s largest economy, with a strong sense of entrepreneurialism – and a large domestic market with close ties to the broader continent – it is a unique and exciting market, yet suffers from a lack of investment. High inflation, dollar shortages and a complex business environment all affect Nigeria’s ability to attract the investment needed to realise its economic potential.
While there are signs of improvement – Nigeria climbed 39 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings since 2006 – the dollar shortage and power cuts represent major bottlenecks,” he noted. On the group’s Memoriam of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Adenuga said the agreement formed part of CDC’s capital partnerships approach and represents “our ambition to mobilise capital and deploy it into highimpact sectors across our priority markets, including Nigeria.
The strategic investment partnership with NSIA will strengthen our information sharing on prospective projects in Nigeria – and Africa at large – with the ambition to co-invest in critical sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure and climateresilience.
“The partnership came about after we realised we had invested in several Nigerian private equity funds where NSIA had also committed capital. It made sense to join forces and work more closely together, given the similarities in our respective mandates.”
CDC has nearly $400 million invested in Nigeria, both directly and indirectly, covering sectors including power distribution, food and agriculture and insurance. The group has been committed to Nigeria as long as it has existed.
As part of its fellowshipping with Nigeria during its 60th Independence anniversary, the group said: “In our first year, we opened an office in the country and ten years later – in 1958 – established the Development Finance Company, focused on encouraging small business growth. “Sixty years on, we may have grown and evolved, but our commitment to Nigeria, its businesses and local communities, remain the same.
Just this year, we made two commitments targeted at supporting local SMEs through financial institutions. “The investments, one a syndicated loan package to Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc, the other an anchor commitment into CardinalStone Capital Advisers’ Growth Fund, aim to address the lack of banking penetration in the country, which stands at just 15 per cent despite having the second largest banking sector on the continent.”