UK’s BII names former ARM-Harith exec as Africa chief

 UK’s BII names former ARM-Harith exec as Africa chief

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution, has named Chris Chijiutomi as Managing Director and Head of Africa, six months after its previous chief for the continent Tenbite Ermias quit the role.

This comes a year after BII elevated Chijiutomi as a Managing Director and head of infrastructure equity for Africa and Pakistan.

Chijiutomi had led BII’s infrastructure equity team since 2018 and sits on the boards of Globeleq and Gridworks, the firm’s key investments in Africa’s power sector. He also provided overall leadership and supervision of BII’s joint venture with DP World in the creation of a platform to invest in ports and logistics assets in Africa.

Gridworks is a development and investment platform set up by BII in 2019, to invest in Africa’s electricity networks while Globeleq is the largest independent power producer operating and developing power plants in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before joining as an investment director at BII in 2017-18, he was with African infrastructure focused PE firm ARM-Harith Infrastructure Investment. In the past he has also worked with Veolia and Thames Water.

He will lead on implementing the five-year strategy in Africa for BII that aims to: channel 30% of new commitments to climate finance and 25% to gender finance; facilitate investments to support African countries on the pathway to ‘net zero’; drive inclusive growth across the continent; build local partnerships, especially with SMEs and locally owned businesses and increase investment in early-stage ventures.

BII last year also named a new India head, another key geography for the organisation.

CDC Group had announced the rebranding in November 2021 and formally became BII last April. At the time, it said the rebranding was part of a refreshed strategy for the five-year period ending in 2026. It said it would scale in Africa and pivot to Asia and, in particular, Southeast Asia to provide green finance as part of the new strategy.

The firm is already one of the most active investors in emerging markets across Asia and Africa, both via direct deals and commitment to third-party managed private equity and venture capital funds.

BII made record LP bets on Africa PE-VC funds in 2021-22 and has been one of the more prolific investors in Africa.

Vivek Sinha

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