At a business reception in Johannesburg, the British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, unveiled its new name and reaffirmed its commitment to investing to accelerate South Africa’s economic dynamism.
BII will direct its patient long-term capital toward scaling climate finance and expanding the country’s clean energy capacity, as well as increasing investments in economic transformation sectors and supporting productive and inclusive opportunities throughout the country. BII’s portfolio in South Africa was valued at more than $142 million in 2021. After significantly increasing its investments in clean energy infrastructure in 2022, the DFI’s commitment today exceeds $520 million.
Among the most recent investments is BII’s collaboration with Standard Bank and H1 Holdings on three Kenhardt projects funded by South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP). The projects are Africa’s largest and South Africa’s first baseload renewable energy projects that are entirely powered by renewable sources. BII also invested in H1 Holding, a South African black-owned and managed renewables investment and development company that will help the country develop an additional 2.4 GW of gross renewable capacity.
“I am delighted that BII are making such a strong commitment to enhancing their presence and impact in South Africa,” says Antony Phillipson, British High Commissioner to South Africa. I especially appreciate BII’s emphasis on investments that will help South African businesses grow and create more economic opportunities for people and communities in desperate need. This is an important component of South Africa’s and the United Kingdom’s partnership in critical sectors such as renewable energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. These are critical in assisting South Africa in achieving its goals of inclusive economic growth and a Just Energy Transition through investment in a green, sustainable, and job-creating economy.”
The BII’s investment will be aimed at reducing inequality in South Africa. The DFI’s recent investment in Lona Foods is expanding economically productive and inclusive opportunities for low-income workers, particularly women. Summit Fund, a black-owned and managed private equity fund investing in underserved areas, was backed by BII, and the DFI’s commitment to H1 Capital marked the DFI’s first direct investment in a Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBEE) company in South Africa.
BII CEO Nick O’Donohoe stated, “BII will continue to partner with key players whose work helps to promote inclusive opportunities and stimulate productive and sustainable growth.” We are committed to championing South African firms’ expansion into other African markets, facilitating knowledge sharing, and providing best-in-class technical and operational expertise to accelerate national and continental prosperity. As we move forward with our new strategy, BII remains committed to leveraging our expertise as Africa’s largest climate finance investor to invest in emerging renewable technology and water supply projects, as well as to mobilize more commercial capital to help South Africa’s economy grow.”
BII made its first investment in South Africa in 1995, when it backed the N4 road and toll plazas between Witbank and Maputo. Its investments in South Africa currently support over 49,000 jobs in 42 businesses and 26 investment funds. Thithi-Kuhlase-Maseko, Head of Office and Coverage Director for South Africa, leads the DFI’s Johannesburg office.