Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO)

We conducted an independent evaluation of BIO’s private equity activities in Sub-Saharan Africa

BIO’s mission is to support a strong private sector in developing countries, enabling local companies to grow and develop sustainably. Investments in private equity (PE) funds are an integral part of BIO’s strategy. However, due to the indirect nature of investing through PE, development effects can be perceived as less visible and straightforward compared to direct investments. BIO asked Steward Redqueen to fill this knowledge gap.

The evaluation study assessed the effects of BIO’s indirect investments in MSMEs through PE funds in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is a strategic priority region for BIO. It provided a comprehensive understanding of the PE model, investment activities, performance and, ultimately, the development effects. The evaluation was structured around five focus areas: (i) the rationale for PE investment; (ii) fit with BIO’s strategy; (iii) analysis of the portfolio; (iv) BIO’s value adding role; and (v) findings from an in-depth focus on four funds and five companies invested in to by these funds.

The resulting report informs BIO staff, the Board of Directors and other stakeholders on whether, why and how PE investments support BIO’s development goals. It also provides lessons learned and concrete recommendations for enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of development outcomes from investing through PE. A summary of the findings can be found here.