Key facts

Founded in 1948, CDC is the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) wholly owned by the UK Government. It is the world’s oldest DFI with a history of making successful investments in businesses which have become industry leaders thereby having enormous impact on the private sector in their country and region as well as improving the lives of many, many individuals.

CDC’s mission is to support the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia, to create jobs and make a lasting difference to people's lives in some of the world's poorest places. 



Businesses in developing countries often struggle to find the investment they need to grow. Our job is to provide scarce and patient capital to private sector entrepreneurs in the poorer developing countries. CDC is one part of the UK’s endeavour to reduce poverty in Africa and South Asia, where over 70% of the world’s poor people live.


CDC’s portfolio of investments is valued at £3.4bn (year end 2014) and includes 1,331 investee businesses. Last year these companies together employed over 1,100,000 people and paid £1.5bn in local taxes.

When CDC sells its stakes in businesses or redeems loans, the principal and any profit are reinvested in other businesses. In 2014, CDC invested £472m in promising businesses in developing countries, and made a total profit (after tax) of £420m.


Our strategy, set in conjunction with DFID, means we will now only make investments in Africa and South Asia where over 70% of the world's poor people live. CDC will invest directly by providing equity, debt, mezzanine finance and guarantees to businesses; and also indirectly through supporting fund managers who are aligned with our aims and who invest our capital on our behalf. Our capital is typically used for growth.   

We are highly flexible in the way that we approach opportunities to provide capital by working to meet the needs of each business.  As an example, our value add might be in the form of patient capital – we often look at periods of 10 years or more.  Or it might be through supporting management to adopt responsible business practices.  Or through structuring our capital instrument creatively to tailor it to the situation in hand.  

We aim to invest where our job creation focus can have greatest impact: in countries where the private sector is weak and jobs are scarce, and in sectors where growth leads to jobs – directly and indirectly – such as manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, financial institutions, construction, health and education.

The CDC team consists of commercial, high-calibre professionals who are focused on using their skills and CDC’s balance sheet to achieve maximum impact and job creation in poor countries by helping businesses to prosper economically over the long term.


Central to CDC’s ethos is a firm commitment to responsible investment. The businesses that receive CDC’s capital must also adhere to its Code of Responsible Investing, which stipulates environmental, social and governance standards that are often above those required by local law. Investing in difficult geographies means that standards sometimes fall short, but in these cases a plan must be put in place to make the necessary improvements