At a business reception launching its new name in Egypt, British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, announced its plan to invest $100 million in local start-ups over its current strategy period and highlighted its ‘Innovation for Impact’ Venture Capital (VC) summit. The DFI, which was formerly known as CDC Group, also reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen its partnership with Egypt and increase climate finance to support the country’s green growth.
The reception which took place at the British Embassy in Garden City, Cairo, was hosted by the Deputy British Ambassador, Qudsi Rasheed and BII CEO Nick O’Donohoe and attended by investment partners and key leaders in business across the country.
British Ambassador to Egypt, Gareth Bayley, said: “We have a new name for an established partner – British International Investment’s presence and impact in Egypt has never been more apparent. Egypt is one of BII’s priority markets, given the growth potential this country has to offer. BII’s investment deals, whether in financial services, health or clean energy, illustrate the strength of the UK-Egypt trade and green partnership. I wish the UK’s development finance institution every success, as it supports Egypt’s green transformation ahead of COP27 in November.”
As part of BII’s ambition to bolster Egyptian VC, the DFI announced new commitments to Algebra Ventures and Endure Capital, two leading local VC firms that support and partner with the most promising early-stage businesses to build transformative companies across sectors such as fintech, agritech, edtech, logistics and healthcare. The capital will support Algebra Ventures’ second fund following the success of Fund I, which included market-leading companies such as Khazna, Mozare3 and Shift EV. BII also anchors Endure Capital’s most recent fund Endure21, which has backed high-impact companies such as Brimore, Pylon and Cassbana.
The DFI has also invested in MaxAB, a prominent B2B e-commerce platform in North Africa. The funding will support the creation of 4,000 jobs and facilitate MaxAB’s expansion across Egypt and Morocco, enabling the company to reach an additional 73,000 micro-retailers across the region. In addition, the investment will help address supply-chain inefficiencies by implementing financial solutions that increase access to finance and facilitate payments for small-scale and low-income retailers.
Additionally, this week in Cairo, BII will host the ‘Innovation for Impact’ summit – the first major event dedicated to VC in emerging markets. The summit, which will bring together local VC managers from across Africa and Asia, aims to help foster new relationships and greater collaboration across markets; explore important themes such as climate tech and food security; facilitate knowledge sharing across BII’s portfolio; and share best practice on ESG and impact measurement.
During his keynote speech, Nick O’Donohoe reflected on BII’s 20-year track record of successfully investing in Egypt such as financing the country’s first management buy-out with El-Rashidi El-Mizan. He also highlighted the DFI’s investment in Benban Solar Park, the largest Solar Park in Africa, which is helping to contribute clean cost-effective power to meet Egypt’s growing energy demand and reduce carbon emissions and is playing a role in helping the country meet its climate goals.
Commenting on BII’s latest commitments in Egypt’s thriving start-up ecosystem, Nick O’Donohoe said: “These investments form a critical part of BII’s new five-year strategy and reflect our local priorities to continuously explore opportunities to back local venture capital fund managers and direct our capital toward stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation among native businesses in impactful sectors. We believe local investors are ideal partners to identify the next generation of high-potential entrepreneurs whose unique solutions help solve development challenges, including climate solutions. I am particularly excited to welcome many of our VC partners at tomorrow’s Innovation for Impact summit. This is an event that further demonstrates BII’s commitment to help foster partnerships within the VC ecosystem and across markets, and help mobilise more capital to back market-shaping companies that are making societies more productive, sustainable and inclusive.”
As the UK’s main vehicle for climate finance investments and the largest bilateral DFI in Africa, BII is committed to broadening its partnership with the Egyptian Government to develop a blueprint addressing Climate Adaptation and Renewable Energy (CARE) for powering energy-intensive water infrastructure. The DFI will also continue to work towards unlocking other climate innovation strategies, including in clean energy solutions such as solar and wind power, green hydrogen, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems, to improve livelihoods, health and nutrition across Egypt.
BII has commitments of over $760 million in Egypt and its direct and indirect investments in the country span several critical sectors such as clean infrastructure and energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services. Its investments currently support more than 50 businesses and over 32,000 jobs across the country. A highlight of BII’s key investment activities in Egypt include:
- Partnering with DP World with over $700 million committed by BII, over several years, to modernise and support the expansion of three ports throughout the African continent starting with three anchor ports, including the Sokhna port. The investment in the port will help increase Egypt’s trade with the Middle East and Asia, support more than 1.4 million jobs indirectly and increase access to critical goods and staples for 16 million people and Egyptian businesses.
- Supporting increased access to quality medical care through:
- $100 million investment in Alfa Medical Group, one of the largest healthcare providers in Egypt, to facilitate its expansion and support improved medical health services outcomes
- A total commitment of $150 million to Kelix bio a first-of-its-kind pan-African pharmaceutical platform focusing on the manufacturing, marketing and broadening of life-saving drugs across the continent including Egypt. BII’s commitment to Kelix bio supported the acquisition of several companies including Egypt’s ADWIA Pharmaceuticals.
- Providing a $100 million Tier 2 10-year financing facility to Commercial International Bank (CIB), to enable the bank in lending to exporting sectors and strengthen Egypt’s economy during the critical COVID-19 period.
- Backing Egypt’s VC industry by anchoring Sawari Ventures Fund I with a $12 million investment in 2018, which has gone on to support disruptive companies such as SWVL, MoneyFellows and Si-Ware. BII also made its first direct VC investment in the country in 2022 in form of a $5 million commitment to Paymob’s Series B round. Paymob works with businesses and merchants of all sizes to enable them to accept digital payments online and in-store.