Canada Investment Fund for Africa Business Principles

CIFA follows world-class business principles and health, safety, environmental and social policies.

The Fund has five guiding principles:

  1. to be open and honest in all its dealings, while respecting commercial and personal confidentiality;
  2. to be objective, consistent and fair with all its Investors;
  3. to be a good corporate citizen, demonstrating integrity in each business and community in which it operates;
  4. to respect the dignity and well-being of all its people and those with whom it is involved; and
  5. to operate professionally in a performance-orientated culture and be committed to continuous improvement.

Where the Fund proposes to hold a minority interest in an investee company, the Fund will not require such company to adopt the full business principles of the Fund but will require that the company makes a Business Principles Undertaking in an agreed form.

Business integrity

The Fund has the following objectives:

  1. to exhibit honesty, integrity, fairness and respect in all its business dealings;
  2. to enhance the good reputation of the Fund; and
  3. to manage its affairs prudently and with due skill, care and diligence.


In the Fund's own operations, its policy is to:

  1. comply with all applicable laws;
  2. deal with regulators in an open and co-operative manner;
  3. prohibit the making of payments as improper inducement to confer preferential treatment on the Fund, its agents or advisers;
  4. properly record, report and review financial and tax information;
  5. clearly define responsibilities, procedures and controls;
  6. only use information received from its partners in the best interest of the business relationship;
  7. operate in conformity with OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises including conventions on anti-corruption, bribery and money laundering;
  8. operate in conformity with the UN Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights;
  9. accord preference to partnering with those financial institutions which have adopted the Equator principles;
  10. apply good practice in the implementation of any work-place programmes on HIV/AIDS, as outlined in the ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work;
  11. ensure that it continues to assess and adopt new international standards as they are enunciated; and
  12. prohibit contributions to political parties or political candidates.

The Fund seeks to invest in businesses which uphold high standards of business integrity and honesty and operate in accordance with local and international laws and good practice, including those intended to prevent extortion, bribery and financial crime.

Social issues

The Fund has the following social objectives.

  1. to require the businesses in which the Fund invests to treat fairly all their employees and contractors, and to respect their dignity, well-being and diversity;
  2. to be objective, consistent and fair with all the Fund's investors; and
  3. to work over time towards full compliance of the Fund's investments with the ILO Fundamental Conventions and with the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

The Fund only invests in businesses which:

  1. comply with local law (as a minimum);
  2. take account of their impact on employees, contractors, the local community and all others affected by their operations (through appropriate consultation, and through a formal Social Impact Assessment (SIA) in cases involving resettlement, cultural property, indigenous peoples, non-local labour or other issues where the negative impact could be significant) and take steps to mitigate any risks, including a Social Issues Management Plan where appropriate and where required by the SIA;
  3. do not employ forced labour of any kind;
  4. do not employ harmful child labour;
  5. pay wages which meet or exceed industry or legal national minima and are sufficient to meet basic needs;
  6. treat their employees fairly in terms of recruitment, progression, terms and conditions of work and representation, irrespective of gender, race, colour, disability, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, religion, or social or ethnic origin; and
  7. allow consultative work-place structures and associations which provide employees with an opportunity to present their views to management.


The Fund has the following environmental objectives:

  • To protect the environment;
  • To encourage the efficient use of natural resources; and
  • To promote the improvement of the environment wherever possible.

Consequently, the Fund only invests in business which:

  • Assess the environmental impact of their operations, taking all reasonable steps to mitigate any risks and, where appropriate, develop, implement and regularly evaluate an environmental management plan;
  • Conduct formal environmental assessments (EA) consistent with international best practices (e.g. World Bank) in cases where new or expanded activities are proposed  that could generate significant negative impacts such as the loss of biodiversity or habitat,  air or water pollution, the generation of hazardous waste or substantial volumes of non-hazardous solid waste;
  • Are designed and operated in compliance with local environmental laws and regulations or are designed and operated according to World Bank standards for the activity concerned (where relevant) if these are more stringent than local legislation, unless there is a clear reason for accepting a different standard in which case this will be formally recorded and reported to investors; and
  • Take account of relevant international environmental agreements.

Health and Safety

The Fund has the following Health and Safety objectives:

  • to attain safe and healthy working conditions for employees and contractors of all businesses in which the Fund invests including, where possible, measures which seek to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS; and
  • to safeguard the health and safety of all those affected by the companies in which the Fund invests.

Consequently, the Fund only invests in businesses which:

  1. comply with local law as a minimum;
  2. in the absence of a local legal framework, take account of the recommendations of the following World Bank documents (where relevant):
    • IFC Health and Safety Guidelines June 2003;
    • World Bank sector-specific guidelines (where relevant); and
    • assess the specific risks arising from work activities and introduce measures to eliminate or reduce those risks.

Procedures to deliver the policies

In order to implement the policies effectively, the Investment Managers will

  • assess the impact of all new investments in each of the above four areas as an integral part of the appraisal process
  • give new investments a risk rating in environmental, health & safety and social issues to determine the appropriate level of management and monitoring;
  • procure that the management of each investee company signs a "Business Principles Undertaking" confirming that it will operate in line with the Fund’s basic principles;
  • assist investee companies in developing action plans to address areas of non-compliance with the Fund’s policy, if the potential investment is still considered attractive despite the existing shortfall;
  • monitor progress against any such action plans on an annual basis through reports prepared by the investee companies;
  • encourage the managers of investee companies to adopt and implement policies relating to the environmental, health and safety, and social issues, particularly where the business entails specific risks;
  • encourage the managers of investee companies to work towards continuous improvement in these areas (e.g. through raising the issues at board level, wherever the Fund has board representation);
  • raise for discussion with the Investor Panel key issues arising from practical implementation of the business principles across the portfolio, including areas of non-compliance, in order to ensure transparency and learning;
  • audit the implementation of the policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, using both internal and external sources;
  • report annually on the implementation of the business principles.

Actis and Cordiant believe that good business principles lead to good investment outcomes. Advantages vary according to different sectors and companies but include access to markets, cost savings, brand value and reputation, productivity, reduced risks and increased attraction to international strategic buyers at exit.

Within Actis’s management team is a Business Principles Unit (“BPU”) comprising two specialists in health, safety, environmental and social issues. The BPU’s role is to provide advice within Actis and to investee companies, both during the investment process and afterwards during the portfolio management of investee companies through to exit.

Cordiant's history of working in partnership with the IFI's has led to Cordiant being invited to become the first non-bank member of the Equator Principles Group.