The March 2017 federal budget confirmed the Government of Canada’s intention to create a development finance institution (DFI), to be housed within EDC and capitalized with $300 million.
The DFI has been built progressively since the 2017 announcement. The Development Finance Institute Canada (DFIC) Inc., operating under the FinDev Canada brand, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC), and once fully operational, will be headquartered in Montreal. FinDev Canada is led by Paul Lamontagne, an experienced banker and impact investor with over a decade of investing experience in Sub-Saharan Africa.
FinDev Canada has a mandate to provide financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth. Areas of focus will include green growth, agribusiness, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises through local financial institutions with specific goals to generate economic development by job creation, promotion of women’s economic empowerment, and action to combat climate change.
What is a DFI and what does it do?
DFIs are specialized financial institutions set up to support developing countries’ private sector expansion and sustainability. They fill the gap between commercial financial service providers and various forms of development assistance, bringing financial capacity where it is otherwise not readily available. DFIs support local private sector activity where it generates sustainable development and alleviates poverty.
DFIs, together with the private sector initiatives they support, are intended to be financially sustainable. They do not provide subsidies, and expect a financial return on their activities.
Why create a Canadian DFI?
Many OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries have had DFIs for several years, and have the ability to deploy a range of services targeted at the private sector in support of their international development priorities.
As part of Canada’s International Assistance Review, Canadian stakeholders expressed strong support for expanding Canada’s development finance toolkit. A Canadian DFI will complement other forms of assistance by leveraging private sector resources and expertise to achieve its objectives. The DFI will contribute to the Government’s commitments under agreements such as the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate.
FinDev Canada will help our country gain greater, longer-term visibility and recognition for its international development efforts. It will prioritize activities in high development-impact areas.
Why was EDC selected to house Canada’s DFI?
EDC has many of the capacities and skills necessary to build and oversee the operations of Canada’s DFI. By drawing on EDC’s wide array of financial instruments and international expertise, FinDev Canada will be able to support private sector initiatives in places where financial services to businesses are not readily available, and thus benefit the poor in those countries.
How will EDC enhance its expertise?
To ensure it has access to expert advice and guidance on an ongoing basis, EDC will establish an Advisory Council to support the leadership of FinDev Canada. Members will be drawn from the private sector, academia and civil society with particular attention to gender balance and an effort to include members from countries eligible for official development assistance.
As part of EDC’s commitment to actively engage with stakeholders, a session was convened on August 1 with parties drawn from business, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, academia and government that had previously expressed an interest in the design of the DFI. Read the workshop summary.
To support its business development and reach interested stakeholders in its target countries, the FinDev Canada will benefit from our established relationships with market and industry players, as well as from our connections with the Trade Commissioner Service and Canada’s development specialists around the world.
EDC’s goal is to create a DFI that reflects Canada’s strengths, offers innovative solutions and supports the successful economic development of the countries where it works.
Those interested in employment opportunities should consult our Careers section where vacancies will be posted.