British International Investment
18 November 2020

Why and how we invest in food and agriculture

We invest across many sectors but prioritise those that help further development. Our seven priority sectors have the strongest potential to create the most jobs for the capital invested and contribute towards many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These sectors are infrastructure, financial institutions, food and agriculture, health, manufacturing, construction and real estate, and education.

In the third of our sector strategies, we set out why the food and agriculture sector matters to us and what our investment priorities are.

Great progress has been made towards eliminating poverty over the last 50 years. Nevertheless, eight hundred million people still live with the persistent risk of going hungry. Most of them live in rural parts of Africa and Asia, and depend on agriculture for their incomes.

In advanced economies, the percentage of the population that makes its living directly from agriculture has fallen to the low single digits. In Africa and South Asia, by contrast, it remains the single biggest source of employment, accounting for more than half of all jobs in several countries. Urbanisation will surely continue in these regions, but the rural population will remain large for decades to come. And eliminating the poverty that blights it will require material improvements in agricultural productivity.

That’s why CDC has been backing the food and agriculture (F&A) sector since our foundation over 70 years ago. As an impact investor, CDC can commit to providing the F&A sectors of Africa and South Asia with capital that purely commercial players are deterred from investing in these fragmented and volatile markets.

Our strategy is built on five investment themes. We aim to lift farm productivity, integrate value chains, improve access to nutritious food, support sustainable F&A business models, and encourage innovation. By promoting these themes, we will help to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.

To find out more about our approach, read our sector strategy.

To read insights from evidence and our experiences investing in the sector, read our Insight report, Investing for impact in the food and agriculture sector in Africa and South Asia.

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