Apply for investment

BIO provides tailor-made financial solutions to entrepreneurs, financial sector companies, and private infrastructure projects, combined with support for capacity building programmes.

Apply for investment

BIO helps businesses flourish while at the same time introducing environmental, social and governance standards that attract additional sources of investment.

This is done with a variety of financial instruments, including equity, quasi-equity, loans and guarantees.

Investments can be made in local currency, which eliminates the risks related to foreign exchange fluctuations for client companies.

Any application must be accompanied by a business plan that includes:

  • A description of the business concept
  • A presentation of products, clients, competitors, suppliers and the management team
  • An investment plan and preliminary financing plan
  • Profitability forecasts
  • For existing companies, the financial history for a minimum of three years

Harmonised EDFI Exclusion List

According to The European Development Finance Institution (EDFI) “Principles for Responsible Financing”, EDFI members have mutually agreed on the following Harmonized EDFI Exclusion List. Exclusions 1 to 8 are applicable for all EDFI co-financed projects, exclusions 9-17 are considered as a minimum common requirement by all EDFI members for all new direct financing (debt or equity), for indirect equity through new commitments to investment funds, and new dedicated lending via financial institutions. The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) has decided to adopt exclusions 1 to 8 for all its investments and 9 to 17 for all new direct financing (debt or equity), for indirect equity or debt through new commitments to investment funds, and new dedicated lending1 via financial institutions.

EDFI Members will not finance any activity, production, use, distribution, business or trade involving:

  1. Forced labour2 or child labour3
  2. Activities or materials deemed illegal under host country laws or regulations or international conventions and agreements, or subject to international phase-outs or bans, such as:
    1. ozone-depleting substances, PCB's (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and other specific, hazardous pharmaceuticals, pesticides/herbicides or chemicals;
    2. wildlife or products regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); or
    3. Unsustainable fishing methods (e.g., blast fishing and drift net fishing in the marine environment using nets in excess of 2.5 km in length).
  3. Cross-border trade in waste and waste products, unless compliant with the Basel Convention and the underlying regulations.
  4. Destruction4 of High Conservation Value areas5
  5. Radioactive materials6
  6. Pornography and/or prostitution
  7. Racist and/or anti-democratic media
  8. In the event that any of the following products form a substantial7 part of a project’s primary financed business activities:
    1. Alcoholic Beverages (except beer and wine);
    2. Tobacco;
    3. Weapons and munitions; or
    4. Gambling, casinos and equivalent enterprises.

Harmonised EDFI Fossil Fuel Exclusion List

The following investment exclusions are considered as a minimum common requirement by all EDFI members for all new Direct Financing (Debt or Equity), for Indirect Equity through new commitments to investment funds, and new dedicated lending1 via financial institutions:

  1. Coal prospection, exploration, mining or processing
  2. Oil exploration or production
  3. Standalone fossil gas exploration and/or production8
  4. Transport and related infrastructure primarily (more than 50% of the infrastructure’s handled tonnage) for coal for power generation
  5. Crude Oil Pipelines
  6. Oil Refineries
  7. Construction of new or refurbishment of any existing coal-fired power plant (including dual)
  8. Construction of new or refurbishment of any existing HFO-only or diesel-only power plant9 producing energy for the public grid and leading to an increase of absolute CO2 emissions10
  9. Any business with planned expansion of captive coal used for power and/or heat generation11

1 Loans conditioned by a use of funds clause specifying that such financing will be used for one or more of the purposes described

2 All work or service, not voluntarily performed, that is extracted from an individual under threat of force or penalty as defined by ILO conventions

3 Persons may only be employed if they are at least 14 years old, as defined in the ILO Fundamental Human Rights Conventions (Minimum Age Convention C138, Art. 2), unless local legislation specifies compulsory school attendance or the minimum age for working. In such cases the higher age shall apply)

4 The elimination or severe diminution of the integrity of an area caused by a major, long-term change in land or water use or the modification of a habitat in such a way that the area’s ability to maintain its role is lost

5 HCV areas are defined as natural habitats where these values are considered to be of outstanding significance or critical importance (

6 This does not apply to the purchase of medical equipment, quality control (measurement) equipment or any other equipment where the radioactive source is understood to be trivial and/or adequately shielded.

7 For companies, “substantial” means more than 10 % of their consolidated balance sheets or earnings. For financial institutions and investment funds, “substantial” means more than 10% of their underlying portfolio volumes

8 Gas extraction from limnically active lakes is excepted from this exclusion

9 For indirect equity through investment funds, investments (up to a maximum of 20% of the fund) in new or existing HFO-only or diesel-only power plants are allowed in countries that face challenges in terms of access to energy and under the condition that there is no economically and technically viable gas or renewable energy alternative

10 i.e. where energy efficiency measures do not compensate any capacity or load factor increase

11 This does not apply to coal used to initiate chemical reactions (e.g. metallurgical coal mixed with iron ore to produce iron and steel) or as an ingredient mixed with other materials, given the lack of feasible and commercially viable alternatives


For organisational reasons, BIO divides all of its investments into 4 categories:

  • Funds
  • Financial Institutions
  • Enterprises
  • Infrastructure

Additionally, all grants are taken care of by our Business Development Support Fund.



Adequate access to energy, water, telecoms, and transport infrastructure is a basic service to the population. It is also indispensable for economic growth and a sustainable private sector.

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Financial Institutions

Financial Institutions

One of BIO’s major goals is to increase the access to finance for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In this way, BIO empowers entrepreneurs and contributes to local economic growth.

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Investment Companies & Funds

Investment Companies & Funds

Fund investments are ideal to build a diversified portfolio, to provide entrepreneurs with long-term capital and to strengthen the business model of the SMEs involved .

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SMEs are of the utmost importance for economic growth in developing countries. Because they create jobs, they are key actors in the fight against poverty. They are also instrumental in disseminating expertise and strengthening social cohesion by developing local value chains and by increasing government income.

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Business Development Support Fund

Companies want to grow and prosper in order to generate jobs and build expertise. This calls for tailor-made investments but also for the right skills and know-how.

The Business Development Support Fund allows companies to increase their business performance and improve sustainable business development practices by offering grants and by co-financing Technical Assistance (TA), Feasibility Studies (FS), and Investment Support for innovative SMEs.

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