British International Investment
25 November 2021

Speech by our CEO, Nick O’Donohoe, at the London Stock Exchange

This morning, 25 November, our CEO Nick O’Donohoe introduced our new name, five-year strategy and Chair at an event at the London Stock Exchange. Nick spoke after the UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss.

You can watch a recording of the speech here and read the transcript of the speech below.


Thank you, Foreign Secretary. Good morning, everybody.

I am delighted to be here for what is a really exciting day for our institution.

After 73 years, CDC has a new identity.

When people ask me what I want to see most from our shareholder, I always say ambition.

Throughout the decades, we’ve been fortunate to have a shareholder in the UK Government that has been enormously ambitious for CDC, has believed in what we do, and – since 2012 – has helped us to grow nearly 10 fold and pushed us to innovate and take risk in support of our development objectives.

In the past five years, we have invested close to £7 billion and mobilised a further £2.5 billion – and in doing so have backed businesses that employ over 900,000 people and have paid in excessive of £10 billion in taxes.

Most importantly those investments have both made a positive difference to countless lives.

They have also, by working closely with our partners and British Embassy staff on the ground, helped strengthen the UK’s profile and relationships across Africa and South Asia.

But what the Foreign Secretary has communicated today shows I think real ambition to move to another level.

We have got a new name that is strong, modern, communicates the increased breadth of what we do and clearly defines us as a British institution that is working to bring not just capital but high standards and transparency to our markets.

Our new strategy launched today builds on that track record of success over the last five years, but it takes us much further.

It will result in investments that meet our three key objectives of productivity, sustainability, and inclusion.

It will retain our focus on Africa, adds the Caribbean, but significantly also pivots us to Asia, and in particular South East Asia, to provide green finance. It will allow us to finance the critical infrastructure that will allow all these countries to build back better.

It will dramatically expand our climate remit, it positions us as the UK Government’s principal provider of climate finance to developing economies and gives us the opportunity to play a key role in addressing the huge challenge that climate change presents particularly in our geographies.

It gives us a broader mandate to support and invest in digital infrastructure and the digital economy. It will give us more ability to support the young entrepreneurs who are using technology to develop solutions that can transform so many lives.

It gives us new tools to help us mobilise more commercial capital and help build more liquid, more transparent and freer capital markets in our geographies.

As we stand here in the London Stock Exchange, at the heart of the world’s largest international financial centre, mobilisation of capital has to be a key focus and a huge opportunity for British International Investment and indeed for all the UK’s financial industry in the future.

Finally, our new strategy clearly communicates our ambition to be a central part of the UK’s offering to our partners in Africa, Asia and beyond.

It is an enormous privilege to be the CEO of British International Investment as we move into this exciting new chapter in our history.

I want to thank the Foreign Secretary again for her faith in British International Investment and her support and ambition for our future.

I want to thank everybody who has brought us to this point especially our staff and our outgoing Chairman Sir Graham Wrigley for his outstanding leadership of CDC over the last 8 years.

And, of course, I look forward to working alongside our new Chair, Diana Layfield.

CDC was the world’s first DFI when it was launched in 1948. It set the standard and was copied around the world. It has bought great credit to this country.

Today we relaunch an old institution with a new ambition and we intend that this institution also can set new standards in the coming decades and be source of pride to this country.

I want to pledge that my team and I will do everything in our power to ensure that British International Investment builds on what has been a unique British success story at CDC.

And brings the best of British finance, innovation, ethics, and standards to developing economies so that we ensure greater freedom and prosperity for all.

Thank you.

Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates