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UK to expand development finance investment to boost growth

A person in a protective face mask walks across Westminster Bridge in London, UK, Nov. 22, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

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LONDON, Nov. 24 (Reuters) – Britain will expand the size and reach of its development finance institution to provide billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure and technology in countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, the government said.

The Foreign Office announced a plan to rebrand the government-owned development investment firm CDC as British International Investment (BII).

“Too many countries are in debt with unconditional investment and we want to provide a fair, reliable alternative that allows those countries to grow,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Reuters ahead of Thursday’s launch at an event at the London Stock Stock Exchange.

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BII will have 9 billion pounds ($12 billion) in funding by 2025, Truss said. In addition to continuing CDC’s current mission of Africa and South Asia, BII will also invest in low- and middle-income countries in the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean.

It will be led by Diana Layfield, President, EMEA Partnerships at Google, and will also work with capital markets and sovereign wealth funds to scale up funding, the government said.

Founded in 1948, CDC has investments in more than 1,000 companies in emerging economies, with total net assets of £6.8 billion and a portfolio of £5.2 billion.

Truss said the BII would focus on investments in the clean energy transition and the infrastructure to support it, and she expected the investments would also bring trade benefits to Britain over time.

“It goes very well with our trade agenda,” she said.

“It’s about helping countries get the trade and investment they need to stand on their own two feet. To give people in those countries opportunities to start businesses, grow, develop and ultimately become more prosperous .”

($1 = 0.7503 pounds)

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Reporting by Kylie MacLellan Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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