AFRICA – The United Kingdom’s government-owned development finance institution, commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), has opened offices in Kenya and Nigeria as part of its strategy trade ties with African countries.

According to Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive of the CDC Group, the new offices in the capital cities of Kenya and Nigeria will allow the firm to seal investments and expand their support to enterprises across the continent.

“I think we wouldn’t have committed to that number unless we thought it was doable in a way that allowed us to earn a return and have significant development impact.

It does require an increase in our investment pace. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve opened a Nairobi office, why we’re opening in Lagos and looking at another couple of places…

One of the things that was obvious to me is we had reached a point of evolution where we really needed to get on the ground.

Nigeria plays a key part in our strategy of partnership and investment for economic growth in West Africa,” he said.

Even though the firm just opened offices in Kenya, its b presence in kenya dates backs several years ago.

In 2016, CDC invested US$140 million (Sh14 billion) in Kenya’s Athi River Mining Cement, which was in line with its guiding principle that states that all investments must have a provable development impact and ability to earn a return.

“We take a lot of risk, go to a lot of difficult places, and do very difficult transactions… It doesn’t mean to say we’ll make money in everything and we’ll certainly make some mistakes and hopefully learn from them,” said the Chief Executive.

Recently, CDC announced a commitment of US$25 million to a local fund backing small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria through the Nigerian-led, Synergy Private Equity Fund II (“Synergy II”).

CDC has been active in Nigeria for 70 years and currently has almost US$400 million invested in the country. Its portfolio of 82 businesses support 41,000 direct jobs. 

CDC, which was established in the 1940s, has been the guide for UK’s investments in Africa. So far the company has been able to invest in more than 30 African countries.