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Leaders with impact

Europe’s development finance institutions (DFIs) have shown the benefits of collaboration and co-financing but are also keen to promote their individual strengths. Jack Aldane spoke to the CEOs of four leading DFIs about their investment strategies and why new guidelines are needed for blended finance deals
Jürgen Rigterink CEO, FMO (Netherlands)

How does your institution target and put together bankable deals in its key investment countries?

Diana Noble CEO, CDC (UK)
Grégory Clemente CEO, Proparco (France)
Bruno Wenn CEO, DEG (Germany)

Diana Noble

CEO, CDC (UK)

We have three product strategies. We invest through fund-to-funds, we invest through equity and through debt. The second two are largely direct and the first is intermediated. We’re the development finance institution (DFI) that has the greatest focus on direct equity; we’re doing our own transactions, we can take majority stakes, large minority stakes, and we can sit on boards whereas quite a lot of the DFIs are reliant on their fund relationships for deal-flow and investment selections, but we’re not. We have a fully-functioning equity team that thinks about sectors first and then works deeply within those sectors to understand what the need is, what’s already there, and how we can achieve what we want to achieve in those sectors, either by working with companies to bring them into those regions or through greenfield start-ups.

The UK, with 64 million people, has a flourishing private sector of 15,000 companies with revenues of more than US$50 million. Ethiopia has 17 for a population of 95 million. Bihar has three. These are not regions of the world where you can just jump off a plane and go and see the large companies and ask: ‘Who wants to take my money?’ You have to be much more creative than that and think about how you can encourage companies outside the region to go to the regions and also ask how we can take companies that are already operating there to shift their emphasis to a more developmental agenda.

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