AFRICA – CDC Group, UK’s publicly owned impact investor, has committed to investing a further £2 billion (about US$2.6 billion)  into African businesses over the next two years, as it looks to double the size of its portfolio on the continent.

The company, the world’s largest bilateral development investor in Africa, also unveiled new agreements worth US$400 m at the UK-Africa Investment Summit to support entrepreneurs and SMEs.

CDC’s Chief Executive while unveiling the new agreements urged UK investors to “embrace the huge opportunity” to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

CDC in a statement explained that a bulk of funds will be used to provide African banks with greater liquidity to support SMEs, entrepreneurs and microbusinesses in their regions.

These include a US$100 million trade finance loan with ABSA, to support SMEs in southern Africa and an MoU to commit $100m to CIB of Egypt to allow the bank to further support SMEs and microfinance enterprises.

Other agreements include: A $75 million trade finance agreement with TDB to support bank lending to SMEs in 32 African countries and a $10 million debt agreement with Mettle Solar Africa to accelerate the roll-out of solar energy in South Africa and Namibia.

The impact investor also committed to injecting a US$27.5 million investment in Mediterrania III Fund to support mid-cap businesses in North and West Africa.

CDC also reached an agreement with Adiwale I Fund where it would pump a $20 million investment in the fund to support SMEs in West Africa with growth capital.

Verod Cap Growth III Fund and Metier Sustainable Capital II Fund also secured a $20 million investment each to enable them scale up their impact investments in Africa.

TLcom TIDE Africa Fund, a sub-Saharan African VC fund that supports businesses that leverage technology and innovation, was also among the list of CDC’s beneficiaries, securing a US$15 million investment from the impact investor.

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of CDC, said, “The commitments we have announced today will accelerate the roll-out of solar power and other renewable technologies and support the growth of countless SMEs – the bedrock of any healthy economy – across the continent.”

Despite Africa being home to eight of the world’s 15 fastest growing economies, the continent receives less than 4 per cent of global foreign direct investment.

CDC has however tried to change this narrative by continuously investing in sustainable and long-term businesses in the continent making it the largest impact investor in the region.

Currently, the UK firm is responsible for over 10 per cent of all capital invested through Africa-focused private equity funds.

CDC is funded by the UK government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia.