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UK reaffirms commitment to support Bangladesh’s private sector growth

British International Investment is central to the UK’s strategy of supporting Bangladesh in securing the investment it will need to sustain economic growth through and beyond LDC graduation, the country’s high commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson has said.

“BII’s investments will support Bangladesh’s development ambitions and complement our work to improve the country’s investment climate,” he told a reception in the city on Tuesday, reports UNB.

BII currently has a portfolio of over US $270 million in Bangladesh, supporting 11 businesses and two funds, across a variety of sectors including financial services, infrastructure, manufacturing and food processing.

The reception was held to mark UK government’s development institution DFI’s new name as British International Investment (BII).

Hosted by BII CEO, Nick O’Donohoe, and and HC Dickson, the reception convened business leaders to celebrate the newly rebranded DFI’s long-term partnership with Bangladesh, and to reaffirm its commitment to support the country in meeting key development priorities.

In Bangladesh, British International Investment, which was formerly known as CDC Group, will continue to build on its 74-year experience as an impact investor to support private-sector growth and leverage both its partnerships and deep-rooted knowledge of markets across South Asia to help boost economic opportunities and transform lives.

Bangladesh is an important market for BII, where it has been investing since the eighties.

CEO O’Donohoe said Bangladesh’s place in their history is a special one that goes back as far as the 1990s, when we supported Grameenphone.

“It was the first company to introduce digital mobile technology in Bangladesh. Our investment helped to increase cellular network coverage across the country, including rural areas, and this is just one example that demonstrates how our partnership with key businesses can help deliver productive and transformative impact in Bangladesh,” he said.

Under its new name and five-year strategy, BII will build on its mandate to help solve the biggest global development challenges by increasing its investments in climate businesses and climate-mitigating initiatives, ensuring that at least 30 per cent of its total new commitments will be in climate finance.

The DFI will also continue to strengthen its approach to gender and diversity finance with a new target of 25 per cent of all new investments to qualify under the 2X Challenge, an initiative that BII co-founded, to empower women’s economic development.

O’Donohoe continued, “As we embark on this new chapter, our relationship with Bangladesh will continue to grow stronger into the future. As we build on our previous investments, we will seek opportunities to partner with businesses across a wider range of sectors to scale impact and bolster the country’s economic growth.”

Key Investment Highlights are:

:Providing capital to Prime Bank to extend more foreign currency trade credit at longer tenors to local businesses, which is expected to generate up to US $60 million of additional trade every year across key economic sectors;

:Keeping trade flowing in Bangladesh by providing a US $30 million trade finance loan to City Bank which is supporting business growth and their ability to remain resilient during and beyond the pandemic.

:Increasing access to quality healthcare services by investing US $45 million in the integrated healthcare delivery platform Evercare, and supporting its expansion into Bangladesh.

:Promoting financial inclusion, increasing lending to SMEs and encouraging women economic empowerment through a US $30 million investment to BRAC Bank to expand its lending programme to export-led and other businesses.

British International Investment has an office in Bangladesh, which is headed by Country Director, Rehan Rashid.