British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), formerly known as (CDC), announced on Tuesday its plan to invest $100m in Egyptian startups over its current strategy period and highlighted its ‘Innovation for Impact’ Venture Capital (VC) summit.
The DFI also reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen its partnership with Egypt and increase climate finance to support the country’s green growth.
The announcement came during a press conference that took place in the British Embassy in Garden, and was attended by the investment partners and key leaders in business across the country.
Deputy British Ambassador to Cairo Qudsi Rasheed said that Egypt is a land of opportunity for business and foreign investment.
“The UK has been and will continue to be a strategic partner in Egypt. We have affirmed our commitment to support Egypt’s performance through establishing successful and diverse partnerships on energy, infrastructure, education, health, finance, and private sector development,” he added.
Rasheed stressed that the UK Government sees BII as an essential part of its toolkit to achieve these outcomes.
He mentioned that Cop 26 and Cop 27 also provide an opportunity to deepen Egyptian –British cooperation across the full spectrum of green issues.
“We now have a green partnership between the UK and Egypt to deliver all of these objectives,” he mentioned.
Meanwhile, BII’s CEO Nick 0’Donohoe affirmed the BII`s full commitment to strengthening its partnership with Egypt and providing climate financing to accelerate the country’s green transformation.
He said that Egypt has become an attractive center for investment and is one of the most important countries for BII, which has been investing in Egypt since 2002.
During his keynote speech, Nick O’Donohoe reflected on BIl’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 DFl’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 BIl’s latest commitments in Egypt’s thriving start-up ecosystem, Nick 0’Donohoe said: “These investments form a critical part of BIl’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 BIl’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, BI 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.
He mentioned that BII has commitments of over $760m 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.
He stated that investments in start-up companies are an important part of our new strategy for the next five years and reflect our priorities to constantly search for opportunities to support local venture capital fund managers and direct our capital towards stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation among local companies in influential sectors.
He continued: “We believe that local investors are ideal partners to deliver the next generation of high-potential entrepreneurs, whose unique solutions help solve development challenges, including climate solutions.”
Sherine Shohdy, Head of Egypt and Coverage Director North Africa, BII, said that BII plans to direct 30% of its investments in the Egyptian market for green projects, specifically for facing climate challenges, during the next 5 years.