PARIS — The United Kingdom government’s development finance institution, formerly known as the Commonwealth Development Corporation but now known simply as CDC, might well have seen more growth in the last five years than any other government-founded DFI. Between 2016 and 2017 the U.K. government quadrupled the CDC’s investment ceiling to 6 billion British pounds ($8.37 billion) in development assistance, refocused its investments on riskier sectors and geographies, and grew its staff from around 60 to more than 200, all while maintaining a portfolio-wide average of at least 3.5 percent return on investments, as dictated by the Treasury.
Yet Colin Buckley, CDC’s chief operating officer, told a crowd at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris last week, that regardless of the U.K. government’s buy-in, and an increasingly populous landscape of DFIs, these institutions “don’t need more money.”
“The narrative of the moment is that we’ve got the capital part of this right, we now have to face the other blockages.”— Colin Buckley, chief operating officer at CDC
“We have new DFIs coming online — Canada, Australia, in the U.S. there are discussions about revamping OPIC, expanding its mandate, and we can’t ignore China, where there’s talk of trillions of dollars being made available for partnerships with the private sector, so large amounts of capital that are coming online — so I think the narrative of the moment is that we’ve got the capital part of this right, we now have to face the other blockages,” he said.
DFIs “have more than enough money; what we’re starving for are places to invest that money,” he added.