1. How does BII’s strategic outlook compare with that of other comparable overseas institutions?


In comparison with other comparable international institutions, BII's strategic outlook distinguishes itself through its focus on selecting priority regions and sectors for capital deployment. Our experience at Criterion Africa Partners has demonstrated that BII is a leading institution in this regard, with fund commitments from a total of 12 development finance institutions (DFIs).As an investment manager, we have benefited from BII’s influence in that it is guided by its development impact criteria (alongside financial returns) in its decision-making process on new investments, particularly the pillars of sustainability and inclusion. Furthermore, BII's on-the-ground presence and impact is evident in all countries where we have portfolio companies, showcasing its exceptional strategic outlook compared to other institutions.

 

  1. How effective are the governance structure and internal oversight mechanisms of BII (e.g., oversight over direct investments, fund investments, BII controlled companies)?

    Based on Criterion Africa Partner’s assessment, BII's governance structure and internal oversight mechanisms have proven to be effective in addressing the complexities associated fund investments made by BII. BII's staff is highly responsive to issues and concerns related to their fund investments and adopts a proactive and solutions-focused approach to addressing challenging situations. This demonstrates the effectiveness of BII's governance structure and internal oversight mechanisms in ensuring the success of its investments.
     
  2. What due diligence does BII undertake prior to making investment decisions and how does this compare with best practice?
     

Based on our interactions with BII, its due diligence process prior to making investment decisions is comprehensive, rigorous, and efficient. The BII team effectively communicates the expectations and requirements of the due diligence process, allowing ample time for preparation and responses to questions and information requests. In our opinion, BII's due diligence practices are aligned with best-in-class standards and rank highly among its peer development finance institutions.

 

  1. What current investments does BII hold?

    BII has invested in two funds managed by Criterion Africa Partners: the Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund (ASFF) and the Africa Forestry Fund II (AFF II).

 

The ASFF portfolio comprises eight companies, of which three South African holdings were merged (Cape Pine Holdings/MTO, Ramanas and Imvelo. The other companies are KVTC (Tanzania), Peak Timbers (eSwatini), Global Woods (Uganda), and CBG (Gabon). Peak Timber, Global Woods and CBG have been sold (exited) to strategic buyers.

 

AFF II, which is currently in its commitment period, has completed eight transactions and comprises the following portfolio companies: Vuka Timbers (South Africa), Selokwe Agri (South Africa), Form Ghana (Ghana), Global Woods (Uganda), Kudu Biomass (Namibia), Rhino Wood (South Africa), and CMO (South Africa). Global Woods has been sold to a strategic buyer. 
 

  1. How effectively does BII manage funds following its initial investment?
     

BII maintains a strong and consistent level of communication with Criterion Africa Partners following its initial investment. This includes regular and frequent interaction through quarterly calls and annual in-person meetings, in which BII has consistently participated with high attendance and often with multiple representatives present. This effectively demonstrates BII's commitment to managing its funds post-investment.

 

  1. How does BII evaluate the impact of its investments?

BII evaluates the impact of its investments through an established process of annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and impact audits conducted by Criterion Africa Partners on each of its portfolio companies. After the distribution of these reports, BII's ESG team engages in discussions with Criterion Africa Partners' investment team to ask questions, review the results, and provide feedback related to BII's impact objectives. This structured process of ESG and impact evaluations allows BII to assess the outcomes of its investments and ensure alignment with its impact goals.