First established as the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1948, CDC was set up by the British government as a vehicle for investing in developing economies. It remains focused on emerging markets to this day, providing capital for investment in private sector businesses. CDC has about $1,600 million invested in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
CDC's investments are made through third-party fund managers, with an emphasis on sustainable development, wealth generation and responsible company management. The company moved into the Middle East in early 2001 when it established an office in Cairo. Two years later, it backed the country's first management buy-out, enabling the local family business El-Rashidi el-Mizan to take over from its parent company, food giant Unilever. CDC subsidiary Globeleq has since gone on to acquire Egypt's Sidi Krier private power plant. Power generation is a key area of investment and is managed by Actis, one of five fund managers under the CDC roof. Power investments are held in operating company Globeleq, which has a controlling interest in five other generation projects besides Sidi Krier. With investments of more than $550 million, Globeleq is the only operating power company solely focused on the emerging markets of Africa, the Americas and Asia. Since 2002, the company has acquired more than 2,200 MW of generation capacity, reaching a total of more than 3,000 MW in 21 projects in 16 countries.