The mission of the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) is to support a strong private sector in developing and/or emerging countries, to enable them to gain access to growth and sustainable development within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
BIO invests directly in private sector projects and as such makes a structural contribution to the socio-economic growth of those host countries. Its mandate requires strict criteria in terms of geographical targets, financing tools and, above all, impact on development.
In developing countries, the informal economy is proof of great dynamism; however access to long-term finance and capital, without which companies cannot grow, is limited or impossible for a large chunk of the population. In fact, the banking system is often unsuited to the needs of small entrepreneurs and does not allow the emergence of income-generating activities.
Support for the private sector is therefore an essential link in the development cooperation chain, as it drives economic growth. By producing goods and services, local enterprises help improve the population’s living standards, accelerate technological developments and lower prices by stimulating competition and increasing the country’s tax base, which is essential for financing infrastructures, education and health.
Initially, BIO financed regional or local intermediary structures (banks, investment funds, etc.) with a vocation to support SMEs and microfinance institutions.
These indirect investments thus allowed BIO to limits its risks and to benefit from the experience of more mature institutions.
In 2004, it broadened its mission to the direct support of local SMEs in order to compensate for the reluctance of commercial banks which are generally hesitant to finance their activities.
Finally, in 2010, after observing that economic operators not only need funding to develop their activities, but also high-quality equipment, BIO’s scope of activities was widened to include private infrastructure projects.
BIO's strategy focuses on 3 areas:
1. The financial sector
3. Infrastructure Projects
The aims of these interventions are based around three key objectives:
-Optimising the development impact (both qualitative and quantitative)
-Supporting sustainable projects
-Additionality (intervening where the need is the greatest), in relation to the market and other DFIs
Where is Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO)