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UK group rebrands, invests $20m in mobility fintech

By Joseph Onyekwere
01 July 2022   |   3:44 am
United Kingdom government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI), known as CDC Group, has changed its name to British International Investment (BII) and announced a $20 million four-year...

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BII, Nick O’Donohoe.

United Kingdom government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI), known as CDC Group, has changed its name to British International Investment (BII) and announced a $20 million four-year structured credit investment in Moove – a mobility fintech – to democratise access to vehicle ownership in Africa.

According to the group, the investment reflects BII’s focus on mobilising capital to build self-sufficiency and market resilience in Nigeria and improve access to inclusive economic opportunities, while helping to catalyse the country’s boundless entrepreneurial ambition.

The announcement was made Wednesday night in Lagos, when the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing CB and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BII, Nick O’Donohoe, co-hosted a business reception to celebrate the launch of the new name and reiterate DFI’s continued ambition to scale up investment that would boost key economic sectors in Nigeria.

The event, which held at the envoy’s Ikoyi, Lagos home, brought together major leaders in business and BII’s investment partners from across the federation.

O’Donohoe, in his keynote address, outlined the organisation’s strategy to deliver productive, sustainable and inclusive investment, pledging to deepen its capital commitments to support emergence of more successful Nigerian businesses that would provide progressive solutions to urgent and complex development challenges.

He highlighted BII’s 74-year history in Nigeria, from its first investments in 1949, in West African Fisheries and Cold Store, to the organisation’s pioneering role in supporting Nigeria’s first private equity fund –African Capital Alliance’s Private Equity Fund I (CAPE I).

On how BII’s new five-year strategy is driving its investment in the world’s first mobility fintech, Moove, O’Donohoe said: “Investing in the prosperity of Nigeria’s growing population requires innovative new partnerships that could leverage the country’s abundant capabilities and expertise.

“In Moove, BII has a partner that aligns with our commitment to back dynamic tech-enabled businesses that can help accelerate impact in Nigeria by strengthening the country’s informal transport industry.”

He added: “The funding from BII will enable Moove to purchase and import brand new fuel-efficient cars into Lagos, which will be leased to drivers, who can then earn their way to asset-ownership, over a three to four-year period.

This will also alleviate one of the key blockages to development of ‘ride-hailing’ transportation infrastructure in Nigeria’s commercial capital.”

At the briefing, jointly held with head of BII Lagos office, Benson Adenuga, O’Donohoe said Nigeria remains the group’s biggest investment market in Africa, with a portfolio of nearly $570 million, through more than 100 businesses and 43 funds, which collectively support almost 45,000 jobs across the country in 2020.

“DFI’s investments in Nigeria, both direct and indirect through various impact-led funds and intermediaries, cover a variety of sectors, from clean infrastructure and energy to digital infrastructure, food and agriculture, financial services, manufacturing and logistics,” he explained.

In her remarks, Laing CB noted: “BII forms an important part of the UK’s package of tools and expertise to help Nigeria build its pipelines for investment and scale up infrastructure investment, in particular, to achieve clean and green growth.”

Bill’s launch, she added, marks “a continuation of this partnership, and we look forward to seeing BII’s support expand and diversify in Nigeria.”