British International Investment


Organizational profile:

British International Investment (formerly CDC) is the UK's development finance institution and impact investor with a mission to help solve the biggest global development challenges by investing patient, flexible capital to support private sector growth and innovation. BII invests to create more productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, enabling people in those countries to build better lives for themselves and their communities.

Investments range between £1.5 and £2 billion every year in green infrastructure, technology and other sectors that need capital the most. BII currently partners with over 1,000 businesses in emerging economies and has total assets of £7.5 billion. Investee partners are supported to succeed and grow impactful businesses. 
BII is at the heart of the UK Government’s international financing offer to emerging economies. That includes building partnerships with British businesses that operate in developing and emerging economies and who share BII’s aims.

Through its strategy "Investing for clean and inclusive growth", the BII ensures that its activities and portfolio are aligned with the Paris Agreement. The goal is to play a meaningful role in tackling climate change and supporting countries and communities in a successful and just transition to net zero and resilient economies. 
One priority area within the climate change strategy is forestry, within which BII will target investments to generate negative emissions and increase development impact as part of their commitment to decarbonise their portfolio. They will additionally support agroforestry (silvopasture, tropical tree crops, intercropping). 

Financing Instrument: Direct equity, Intermediated equity, Debt, Guarantees 

Non-bank financial services: Including leasing companies, infrastructure finance, mortgage companies, and microfinance institutions.
Fintech and market infrastructure: Including payment switches, credit bureaus, digital lenders, and stock exchanges.

Project scale:

Equity (ticket size: $10-250 million)

  • Direct investment; significant minority investments
  • Follow-on investments

Debt (ticket size: $10-250 million)

  • Senior loans for corporates and financial institutions
  • Subordinated Tier II debt
  • Risk sharing facilities
  • Project finance
  • Trade finance

Funds (ticket size: up to $150 million)

  • SME, mid-cap and large-cap private equity funds
  • Private credit funds
  • Sector funds
  • Risk sharing facilities
  • Venture capital

Recent investments in forestry have ranged from $12 million to $75 million.

Recipient countries / regions: Africa, Asia, the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean

Recipient categories: Businessess

Eligibility Criteria: Each project is assessed by the type of impact the investment is contributing to, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Application guidelines:

A prospective deal might be brought to BII’s attention by a sponsor, third party contact, or through direct outreach from BII. If it is initially seen as viable, the deal team, which includes specialists from the investment and impact teams, conducts further research to decide whether it should be put before the Investment Committee. The deal team works closely with the potential investee to carry out due diligence and deal structuring, examine how the prospective investment meets our criteria, and understand the opportunities for impact. This includes producing an ‘Impact Dashboard’ which articulates the expected development impact. Another tool, called the Impact Score, is designed to manage performance against strategic impact objectives. The decision process also includes evaluating prospective investees’ environmental, social and governance systems and practices and their commitment to making improvements and adhering to industry good practices. BII looks for opportunities to maximise impact, with a particular focus on the priorities of gender equality, climate change, job quality, and skills and leadership. The deal team then presents their findings to the Investment Committee. If the Investment Committee makes the decision to go ahead with the investment, BII outlines their commitment to the deal sponsors and specify any conditions that need to be fulfilled before the funding is made available.

Last updated: 14 September 2023

Publication Date
Thursday, 01 April 2021
Applicable location
Climate change
Forest conservation and management
Financing opportunities