Catalyst Strategies

Our approach to innovating with catalytic capital

We invest through our Catalyst Strategies to shape nascent markets and build more inclusive and sustainable economies. 

It’s an innovative approach to impact we’ve been following for the last five years to build on CDC’s 70-year history of investing in emerging marketsGiven we’re investing in markets where there are few precedents or benchmarks, wtake a flexible approach to risk in exchange for pioneering impact 


Our strategies

Generalist Catalyst Strategies

We invest through generalist Catalyst Strategies to explore a broad range of investments addressing persistent market failures or building on emerging trends.

In 2017 the Department for International Development transferred the IMPACT Programme to CDC to be part of CDC’s catalyst strategies.

The Accelerator 

This strategy allows us to trial new models with direct investments, with the aim of enhancing inclusion, promoting innovation, or deepening our reach into frontier markets.

Catalyst Funds

The team focuses their investments on funds or other intermediated structures that provide significant development benefits through reaching underserved people or developing nascent or frontier markets.

Thematic Catalyst Strategies

We invest through thematic Catalyst Strategies to address a need within a sector. For example, to close gaps in value chains, financing, inclusion or sustainability. 

Wcurrently manage three thematic strategies – and are looking to add more: 

Gridworks is targeting equity investments in transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity in Africa. It’s a development and investment platform wholly owned and supported by CDC. 

MedAccess is increasing patient access to life-changing medical supplies. It does this by offering volume guarantees to reduce commercial risk and allow medical manufacturers to accelerate supplies to markets at affordable and sustainable prices. It’s a UK-based social finance company founded by CDC.  

Energy Access & Efficiency aims to increase off-grid access to clean energy and provide finance for resource-efficiency projects, through local currency lending. It’s managed in-house at CDC. 

Key contacts

Yasemin Saltuk Lamy

Deputy CIO for Catalyst Strategies

Zahra Khan

Investment Executive, Catalyst Strategies