BY ANITA OKORO
The UK Government is investing $1 billion in Nigerian banks, infrastructure and power over the next five years through the British International Investment (BII), its Development Finance Institution (DFI).
Nick O’Donohoe, chief executive officer of BII, announced this at a business reception in Lagos on Wednesday where BII, formerly known as CDC Group, introduced its new name. The event was co-hosted by Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner in Nigeria, and O’Donohoe.
O’Donohoe said BII has invested $100 million in FirstBank; $75 million in Stanbic IBTC; $15 million in CardinalStone Capital Advisors, and $162.5 million syndicated loan package in Access Bank.
Azura Power also got $30 million debt finance to support the construction of the 461 megawatts Azura-Edo power plant.
The investments, O’Donohoe said, reflect BII’s focus on mobilising capital to build self-sufficiency and market resilience in Nigeria, and improve access to inclusive economic opportunities while helping to catalyse Nigeria’s boundless entrepreneurial ambition.
“Investing in the prosperity of Nigeria’s growing population requires innovative new partnerships that can leverage the country’s abundant capabilities and expertise,” he said.
BII’s leadership outlined the organisation’s strategy to deliver productive, sustainable and inclusive investment and pledged to deepen its capital commitments to support the emergence of more breakthrough Nigerian businesses providing progressive solutions to urgent and complex development challenges.
O’Donohoe said investments in key segments of the economy are evaluated based on sustainability, inclusion and productivity, adding that BII’s investment help to create jobs and provide entrepreneurial self-starters with the means to own their vehicles.
Also speaking, Laing said BII forms an important part of UK’s package of tools and expertise to help Nigeria build its pipeline for investment and scale up infrastructure investment, in particular to achieve clean, green growth.
“The launch of BII marks a continuation of this partnership, and we look forward to seeing BII’s support expand and diversify in Nigeria,” Laing said.
Nigeria is BII’s biggest investment market in Africa, with a portfolio of nearly US$570 million, through more than 100 businesses and 43 funds, which collectively support almost 45,000 jobs across the country in 2020.
The DFI’s investments in Nigeria, both direct and indirect through various impact-led funds and intermediaries, cover a variety of sectors from clean infrastructure and energy to digital infrastructure, food and agriculture, financial services, manufacturing and logistics.