The Financial Express

Higher FDI flow linked to growth momentum

CDC Group chief tells FE

| Updated: October 19, 2019 11:01:45

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
CDC Chairman Graham Wrigley (L) and CEO Nick O'Donohoe — FE Photo CDC Chairman Graham Wrigley (L) and CEO Nick O'Donohoe — FE Photo

Bangladesh needs to strengthen its capital market so that entrepreneurs remain dependent less on financial institutions for funds, said Graham Wrigley, Chairman of CDC Group Plc, the UK government's investment arm.

"As one of the top achievers of high GDP growth, Bangladesh has drawn the attention of global investors," he told the FE on Tuesday.

Mr Wrigley was flanked by Chief Executive Officer of CDC Nick O'Donohoe, Bangladesh Country Direc-tor Rehan Rashid and Head of Asia Srini Nagarajan who are now in Dhaka.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh is equivalent to only around 1.0 per cent of GDP which needs to be enhanced to keep this growth momentum on track, he noted.

Mr Wrigley said his group has sharp focus on Bangladesh and this is evident from the group's decision to hold its board meeting in Dhaka.

Nick O'Donohoe said CDC offers flexible investment solutions including equity, corporate debt, project finance and fund investments.

It has been responsibly investing in Bangladesh since early 80s and over last 10 years. CDC has committed excess of US$205 million to the country, he added.

"In the wider region of South Asia, CDC has invested for over a period of 30 years and has over 300 investee partners, valued at nearly US$ 2.0 billion. The group has committed to investing up to US$1.7 billion in South Asia from 2018-2021," the CEO said.

He said that CDC has built long-term investment partnerships with high-growth domestic businesses such as RFL Electronics, a producer of consumer electronics and large domestic appliances for the local market, and Grameenphone, Bangladesh's leading mobile phone operator.

In the latest move, the 5.8 billion-pound company has announced its commitment of US$30 million to BRAC Bank.

CDC is committed to using its capital to invest responsibly in businesses to help them grow, Nick said, adding that this positively contributes to a country's economic prosperity and the quality of people's lives in local communities.

"Our impact strategies ranging from environmental and social to gender and climate change solutions can add real business value for long-term success."

Responding to a question, Nick said CDC's investment focus is on businesses operating in job-creating sectors including infrastructure, healthcare, agribusiness and financial services and on companies that lower the cost of goods and services for local consumers. Last year, he said, CDC set out to responsibly invest a further US$1.7 billion in South Asia from 2018-2021. "Bangladesh is a real area of interest for us. We have some exciting partnerships in the pipeline."

CDC Group Plc is the UK's development finance institution, wholly owned by the UK government. CDC has invested in Africa and Asia for over 70 years.

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