Thorough reform Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) completed

Today, the Chamber of Representatives approved an amendment of the legal framework in which the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) operates. The amendment is the final element of a thorough reform of BIO. This reform makes the investment company better embedded in the Belgian development policy, strengthens the link with the private sector, and increases the impact of the development initiatives in Belgium’s partner countries.

In 2016 already, the mandate of BIO had thoroughly changed. Stronger cooperation with the private sector was one of the focal points. This made it possible to open the capital of BIO to private investors, and it gave BIO the possibility to set up and manage investment funds itself. On top of that, the rules were tightened to prevent flight of capital from developing countries and to make it impossible to work through tax havens.

Smaller investments with a higher development impact
The new legislative amendment allows BIO to make smaller investments with a higher development impact in the future. This enables BIO to invest more in the least developed countries where the risks are often higher. Eleven of the fourteen partner countries of Belgium are least developed countries.

Besides that, BIO gets more possibilities to grant subsidies to stakeholders of companies like small farmers or local professional associations for example. From now on, the investment company is also able to carry out specific assignments for third parties, such as the management and training of funds for the European Union.

Calling on BIO expertise
Thanks to the reform, the Belgian Government will also be able to entrust specific assignments to BIO and to call upon its expertise. A concrete example of this is the possibility to support the Belgian Government in the management of participations in development banks as in Rwanda or Burundi.