Catalyst Strategies

Our approach to innovating with catalytic capital

We invest through our Catalyst Strategies to shape nascent markets and build more inclusive and sustainable economies.

It’s an innovative approach to impact we’ve been following for the last six years to build on CDC’s 70-year history of investing in emerging markets. Given we’re investing in markets where there are few precedents or benchmarks, we take a flexible approach to risk in exchange for pioneering impact.

Our strategies

Generalist Catalyst Strategies

We invest through generalist Catalyst Strategies to explore a broad range of investments addressing persistent market failures or building on emerging trends.

In 2017 the Department for International Development transferred the IMPACT Programme to CDC to be part of our Catalyst Strategies.

The Accelerator and Catalyst Funds

These strategies provide a ‘Sandbox’ for CDC to try and test new models and themes, through direct and intermediated investments respectively, with the ultimate aim of deepening our inclusion or having transformational climate impact.

Venture Capital Scale-Up

Through this strategy, we invest in early-stage companies that use technology and innovative business models to achieve transformational impact. The programme expands on our existing work investing in venture capital  funds in developing countries, where our support has been aimed at bridging the funding gap for early-stage businesses, and developing the venture ecosystems in Africa and South Asia.

 

Thematic Catalyst Strategies

We invest through thematic Catalyst Strategies to address a need within a sector. For example, to close gaps in value chains, financing, inclusion or sustainability.

We currently manage five thematic strategies – and are looking to add more:

Gridworks

Gridworks targets equity investments in transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity in Africa. It is a development and investment platform wholly owned and supported by CDC.

Energy Access and Efficiency

Our Energy Access and Efficiency platform aims to increase off-grid access to clean energy and provide finance for resource-efficiency projects, through local currency lending. It is managed in-house at CDC.

Medaccess

MedAccess aims to increase patient access to life-changing medical supplies. It does this by offering volume guarantees to reduce commercial risk and allow medical manufacturers to accelerate supplies to markets at affordable and sustainable prices. It is a UK-based social finance company founded by CDC.

High-Value Crops

This platform seeks to address funding gaps in the high-value crops sector in Africa, with the aim of connecting remote, and often low-income, communities in some of the least-developed countries to global supply chains, as employees or producers.

Forestry

This strategy aims to support the African forestry sector in reducing pressure on natural forests, contributing to climate change mitigation, and having a significant positive and sustainable impact on improving local livelihoods.

Key contacts

Yasemin Saltuk Lamy

Deputy CIO, Head of Asset Allocation and Capital Strategy

Zahra Khan

Investment Manager, Asset Allocation and Capital Solutions