UK’s CDC Group to expand Asia reach amid changes in strategy

An employee making her way into the CDC office. Photo: CDC

CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, is looking to expand its investment exposure in Asia as part of a new strategy with an increased focus on climate finance, digital transformation, and diversity, according to a senior official.

In a recent speech at the London Stock Exchange, the UK Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss announced upcoming changes at CDC Group.

CDC, which will formally be recognised as British International Investment starting April 4, 2022, is entering a new five-year strategy period with an aim to invest £1.5 billion ($2 billion) to £2 billion each year.

Already an active investor in South Asia, the CDC announced a special interest in Southeast Asia following a mandate to go further to an expanded geographical remit to include the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean.

For Southeast Asian countries, mainly the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the focus will be on climate investment, particularly the renewables sector.

“It will retain our focus on Africa, adds the Caribbean, but significantly also pivots us to Asia, and in particular South East Asia, to provide green finance. It will allow us to finance the critical infrastructure that will allow all these countries to build back better,” Nick O’Donohoe, CDC chief executive, said.

O’Donohoe said the company has invested around £7 billion and mobilised a further £2.5 billion in the past five years, backing businesses that employ more than 900,000 people.

In her speech, Truss also announced the appointment of Diana Layfield as the new chair of CDC. She will succeed Graham Wrigley who is stepping down after being appointed in 2013.

Layfield is currently Google president, EMEA partnerships as well as a non-executive director at AstraZeneca. She was formerly the chief executive of Standard Chartered, Africa.

The development finance institution joined other investors to invest in digital financial service company Indifi Technologies, an online lending platform in India. The CDC also recently provided Leap India Food and Logistics Private Limited with $14 million debt financing to build silos in low-income states.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.