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Assessing the impact of British International Investment

British International Investment (BII) is the UK’s development finance institution. Itad is evaluating the impact of BII’s investments in the Industries, Technology, and Services (ITS) sector.


Commissioned by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), this multi-sector evaluation will provide a better understanding of the development outcomes and impact associated with BII’s investments in ITS industries and draw out key learning opportunities.

Periodic, longer-term evaluations of BII’s outcomes and impact are critical to help FCDO, BII, and BII’s investees better understand how, and in what contexts, BII’s investments help to deliver tangible, sustainable development outcomes and impact on people, businesses, sectors and where feasible, overall economies. This information is vital to help BII target investments and track results in those businesses and sectors where it can have the most impact and can be used to inform both portfolio management and investment decisions and is a key learning opportunity.

This is the third of a series of sectoral evaluations that Itad is undertaking across BII’s portfolio. The first is an ongoing study examining the extent to which BII mobilises private sector capital and the second is an evaluation of BII’s investments in infrastructure.

Our role

Our evaluation of BII investments will cover the Industries, Technology, and Services (ITS) sector which encompasses the health, education, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and real estate, consumer and business services, and technology and digital services sectors.

The evaluation will examine commitments and investments in Africa and South Asia from 2012 to the present. It excludes any investments in technology or telecoms infrastructure that were covered under prior infrastructure sector evaluations.

The evaluation has four key purposes:

  1. Increase accountability to FCDO and the UK public
  2. Strengthen learning for future investments
  3. Improve understanding of development impact
  4. Contribute to the global evidence base.

Our methods & approaches

We are conducting a theory-based evaluation, examining the extent to which the BII impact framework and the sector-specific impact frameworks that underpin the investments hold true. We will collect and analyse data, use descriptive analysis, and build an evidence base to substantiate impacts, outcomes and/or pathways to impact.

The evaluation will consider the portfolio in aggregate. It will also consider investments across several dimensions and variables, including BII’s cross-cutting themes and investment approaches.

We will identify patterns and trends that will help to understand why impact (or pathways to impact) may or may not be occurring and to what extent. The analysis will also help us infer causality to better understand where and why development impact is occurring, and what might be helping or hindering impact. And it will aid in assessing patterns and trends – where clusters of investments in a sector, sub-sector, or geographic area have linkages in terms of development impact and to what extent there are gaps or even duplication.

Our evaluation approach is designed to balance accountability and learning objectives. The evaluation consists of two stages of implementation: Stage 1 is a descriptive analysis of the portfolio, drawing on BII’s data as well as publicly available sources (secondary data) and the existing evidence base. This informs Stage 2 which consists of up to 10 in-depth studies of BII investments (primary data) and a final assessment that draws together evidence and learning from both stages (synthesis).

Outcomes & impact

The primary audience for the evaluation is FCDO and BII. The findings are expected to directly benefit some of BII’s investee companies and any associated institutions/government bodies, and key stakeholders.

The evaluation findings may also be of interest to the wider global development community working in the different sectors as it will add to the existing evidence base. It is expected that the evidence generated by these evaluations will be used by policymakers to inform and integrate economic, urbanisation and technology/agriculture/industrial policies and planning within their areas of work.