DFID Impact Fund


Growth of the impact investment market offers opportunities for driving new capital to activities that can improve the lives of the poor.  Through the DFID Impact Fund, CDC and DFID are seeking to invest in activities that combine a clear and significant pro-poor impact with financial discipline to protect the investor. In the short term, the fund will catalyse increased capital through giving confidence to co-investors via robust due diligence of investees’ financial returns and development impact, and through offering limited potential subordination to private investors where necessary to catalyse their participation. In the longer term, the fund aims to catalyse further capital through proving the financial viability of pro-poor business models and demonstrating the positive impact that this type of investment will deliver.

The DFID Impact Fund aims to draw in sustainable sources of private capital into the impact investment market that are willing to allocate a portion of their portfolio to this emerging asset class. By helping existing impact investors secure demonstrable social impact with their money and encouraging greater commitments to impact investment, more enterprises will be created or strengthened with more poor people having access to jobs, incomes and affordable goods and services suited to their needs.

Expected results from the DFID Impact Fund are:

  • Over 5 million poor women and men using or benefiting from access to affordable goods and services such as health, agricultural services, food, energy, housing, education, and safe water or accessing new opportunities as employees or producers.
  • Investments in over 100 enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
  • Additional private capital invested alongside the DFID Impact Fund.


  • The DFID Impact Fund is focused on investments in low income and lower-middle income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with a maximum of 15% of capital available for investing in India through a regional or a global intermediary. The Fund capital cannot be invested through an intermediary focused on investing only in India.
  • The DFID Impact Fund is invested through vehicles that have a clear strategy to invest in businesses that achieve positive impact on the BoP (Bottom of the pyramid) population in their target geographies as consumers, producers or workers.
  • Funds which have a potential to invest in sectors or enterprises that target poor women and girls as suppliers, producers or consumers of essential goods or businesses for the poor in post-conflict countries are particularly welcome to apply.
  • The Fund aims to direct investment capital towards sectors or pro-poor businesses that are otherwise unable to attract commercial investment and hence require the early-stage patient capital and technical support available through the Fund. The DFID Impact Fund is open to supporting investment in all sectors where a Fund can demonstrate significant unmet need for investment to achieve impact. These include, but are not limited to businesses providing access to food, housing, energy, water, sanitation, health, education, financial services and livelihoods for the BoP. Given that microfinance has successfully attracted investment capital from other sources, we have chosen to exclude microfinance-focused investment vehicles from the purview of this fund.
  • The Fund seeks to invest in the region of £5m to £15m per investment.
  • The Fund is seeking to catalyse private investment and, all other things being equal, the more private investment that a fund can raise to match the Fund’s commitment, the greater is the chance of its proposal being successful.
  • While the investment universe includes all countries in Africa and South Asia, we strongly encourage proposals that focus on making investments in low income countries to deliver higher potential impact.
  • The Fund does not intend to be a sole investor unless there is a clear rationale why other investors cannot be brought in.
  • There is a possibility for a small proportion of the Fund’s investment to be available to guarantee first losses to other private investors if this is necessary to attract their investment capital to investment vehicles with a high development impact. Such first-loss guarantees will not be available to leverage co-investment from other public investors (such as development finance institutions or multilateral and bilateral aid agencies).
  • The Fund supports investments with up to a maximum of 10-year term.
  • For the first 6 years of the programme, technical assistance (TA) funding is available to intermediaries receiving Fund capital to use to support the development of the enterprises they invest in. Each intermediary can apply for an amount of TA funding equivalent to up to 10% of the amount of Fund capital it receives.


DFID Impact Fund homepage (external link)

Read about the proposal process

Frequently asked questions