British International Investment re-establishes its presence in Kenya
Nairobi - 13 May 2022 - On Thursday evening, Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of British International Investment (“BII”), joined British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott OBE, at a reception to launch the rebranded UK government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI), in Kenya.
The event which took place at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Nairobi, was attended by over 150 guests, including business leaders and BII’s investment partners. The reception celebrated the DFI’s long-term partnership with Kenya and reaffirmed its commitment to channel greater funding to help drive innovation and tackle the biggest global development challenges.
In his address, CEO Nick O’Donohoe, remarked on BII’s long history in Kenya, which dates to 1948: “Our history in Kenya shows our appetite to grow and shape markets. We helped establish the Kenya Tea Development Authority in 1964, and we’ve continued to support the company’s growth to become the world’s third-largest exporter of tea and Kenya’s second-largest source of foreign exchange.”
“That is just one example of the productive and transformational relationships that BII has developed with Kenya in the past.”
Kenya is one of the DFI’s most important markets. In the country, British International Investment, which was formerly known as CDC Group, will continue to build on its 74-year track record of investing to support private-sector growth and leverage its partnerships and deep-rooted knowledge of markets across the African continent to transform lives.
Under a new name and a new five-year strategy, BII will pursue investment opportunities in Kenya that will raise productivity, help increase climate resilience and support a circular economy, and ensure inclusive opportunities for all.
“We will deploy 30 per cent of our investments toward climate finance and support the growth of renewable energy generation as we have been doing in Malindi and through Greenlight Planet.”
“Going beyond this, BII will also back new technologies like battery storage and green hydrogen, invest in the burgeoning digital economy, and support ambitious entrepreneurs who are creating solutions that can transform societies.”, Mr. O’Donohoe commented.
Speaking during the reception British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, said: “The relaunch of the organisation as British International Investment signifies a number of things – but in particular I believe it signifies a desire to deepen the already close relationship with the rest of the UK Government’s activity in Kenya, to make the UK offer in Kenya as coherent and integrated as possible, and ensure that we are more than the sum of our parts.”
Today, BII has a portfolio of nearly GBP 500 million in Kenya, supporting 30 regional funds and more than 80 businesses, which in turn support over 36,000 jobs. The DFI’s investments in Kenya, both direct and through various funds and intermediaries, cover a variety of sectors, from clean infrastructure and energy, to digital infrastructure, food and agriculture, financial services, and logistics. A highlight of its key investments include:
- backing climate-eligible projects and supporting small businesses’ resilience and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic with a US $87 million total commitment to Equity Bank Kenya.
- accelerating clean and green energy generation in Southeast Kenya by supporting the newly operational 52 MWp Malindi Solar project through a US $66 million commitment alongside Globeleq – a BII-majority owned independent power producer focused on Africa.
- improving crop yield and farmers’ income by investing US $100 million investment in ETG, which is helping to connect over 550,000 smallholder farmers in Africa to global markets.
- supporting digital transformation through a $220 million financing to Africa’s largest telecoms company, Liquid Telecom, which is improving access to high-quality internet.
Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of British Investment International, added: "I am delighted to be here in Nairobi at this juncture and humbled by the welcoming partnership which Kenya has extended to our organisation for over 74 years. As we embark on this new chapter, we know the country will continue to hold an important place in our future and we look forward to working with all of you in the decades to come.”
British International Investment has an office in Kenya, which is headed by Seema Dhanani.