US economy

UK to expand development finance investment to boost growth



© Reuters. A person wearing a protective face mask walks over Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will expand the size and reach of its development finance institution to provide billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure and technology in countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, the government said.

Announcing a plan to rebrand government-owned development investment company CDC as British International Investment (BII), the Foreign Office said the move was part of a strategy to deepen economic, security and development ties globally.

“Too many countries have become indebted with strings-attached investment and we want to provide an honest, reliable alternative that is going to enable those countries to grow,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Reuters ahead of Thursday’s launch at an event at the London Stock Exchange.

BII will have 9 billion pounds ($12 billion) of finance by 2025, Truss said. Alongside continuing with CDC’s current remit of Africa and South Asia, BII will also invest in low and middle income countries in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean.

It will be headed by Diana Layfield, President, EMEA Partnerships at Google (NASDAQ:), and will also partner with capital markets and sovereign wealth funds to scale up financing, the government said.

Established in 1948, CDC has investments in more than 1,000 businesses in emerging economies, with total net assets of 6.8 billion pounds and a portfolio of 5.2 billion pounds.

Truss said the BII would focus on investing in the transition to clean energy and the infrastructure to support that, and she expected the investments would also have trade benefits for Britain over time.

“It goes very much hand in hand with our trade agenda,” she said.

“This is all about helping countries get the trade and investment they need to be able to stand on their own feet. To be able to give opportunities to people in those countries to set up enterprises, to grow, develop and ultimately become more prosperous.”

($1 = 0.7503 pounds)

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