A non-profit organisation dedicated to integrating the development finance system into global capital markets.
Through applied research, field work and advocacy the Centre for Development Finance Studies identifies and disseminates practical solutions for integrating development finance institutions into global capital markets. It works to shape a future where the development finance system harnesses the reach and scale of the global capital markets to dramatically increase the participation of private capital for the 2030 Agenda.
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About us
The Centre for Development Finance Studies is a non-profit organisation dedicated to applied research, field work and advocacy in the field of development finance.
The CDFS works to shape a future where the development finance system harnesses the reach and scale of the global capital markets to dramatically increase the participation of private capital for the 2030 Global Goals.
The CDFS Method
Through close engagement with both the development finance system and private financial institutions the CDFS identifies and disseminates practical solutions for integrating DFIs into global capital markets.
The CDFS' activities focus on three interconnected modules that together have the capacity to generate accelerated development through capital markets:
Policy: Create the conditions for Accelerated Development
Solutions: Build the tools for Accelerated Development
Capital: Identify the most adapted pools of capital and how to mobilise them
Within each module the CDFS pursues several areas for further research and advocacy. These include the following:
How can sustainable pipelines of investible opportunities be stimulated?
What are the cascading market development effects of greater levels of transparency?
What are the product and policy routes to best stimulate the development of local capital markets?
How can risk sharing techniques enhance the efficiency of the development finance system?
What are the strategies to direct established pools of climate finance capital to emerging markets projects?
How can a true measure of the effectiveness of catalytic capital be developed?
Governance and Management
The CDFS is governed by an independent board of directors and led by a management team with extensive experience in development finance and capital markets.
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Thomas Venon
Executive Director
Thomas is executive director of the CDFS and a founding partner at Eighteen East Capital. Thomas has 20 years’ experience in the asset management industry including as head of institutional business at African Alliance, a director at S&P Fund Research, and senior positions at RBS/ABN Amro and Old Mutual. He holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town and a Master’s in Applied Finance from the University of Melbourne.
Wuraola Okuwobi
Wuraola is a Master’s in Finance student at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE). As a Wallenberg fellow, she completed an internship GEF Capital Partners. Prior to SSE, Wuraola worked in the international tax divisions at PwC and Andersen where she advised multinationals and domestic group companies on related party transactions. In addition she sits on the board of Green Growth Africa (formerly ISNAD-Africa).
David Escoffier
Senior Advisor
David is a partner at Eighteen East Capital and CEO of the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility. An experienced banker he most recently held senior management positions as Global CEO of Newedge and Deputy Head of Global Markets at Société Générale. David has also served on several corporate boards, including Lyxor Asset Management. David is a graduate of Sciences-Po Lyon.
Dave Portmann
Senior Advisor
Dave is a co-founded Eighteen East Capital in 2015 and is a senior advisor to the CDFS. He gained extensive experience across Africa during his time as a senior consultant at Douglas Parker Associates. He also spent four years in general management at USABCO. Dave was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and holds B.Sc. (Hons) and MBA degrees from the University of Cape Town.
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Saadia Madsbjerg
Saadia is president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. Previously, she was managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s innovative finance portfolio. She serves on the board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation and the Carter Center. Her work has been featured in publications such as Harvard Business Review and she is the co-author of Making Money Moral: How a New Wave of Visionaries is Linking Purpose and Profit.
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Tine Fisker Henriksen
Tine has over 10 years of experience in the impact investing sector. She is the Interim Managing Director at BESTSELLER Foundation, investing in green economy ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tine is on the Board of several of the Foundation’s portfolio companies. Previously, Tine led a team of innovative finance and impact investing experts at the UCT GSB Bertha Centre.
Philip Walker
Philip is co-head of private equity investments at Asteria Obviam, with a lead responsibility for investment and portfolio construction in Africa. Prior to Obviam, Philip was a founding member of the team that developed and launched the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Philip has a master’s degree in finance from London Business School.
John Kristensen
John is COO of Astrid, an EdTech venture he co-founded after a career in development finance and investment banking. Previously, as head of fund investments at Swedfund, John built and managed one of the largest impact investment portfolios of its kind in the Nordics. Prior to Swedfund, he worked at Aviva plc and Merrill Lynch in the City of London.
Mita Samani
Mita was until June 2023 the Head of the Private Sector Department at the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office. She was tasked with the oversight and management of BII and represented the UK on the Board of Directors of the EBRD. Mita in addition helped develop the UK’s position on climate change policy for the MDBs and leveraging private finance in the international climate change negotiations.
Find our publications here
Demystifying securitisation and assessing its potential to accelerate the financing of sustainable development.

Compiled in collaboration with the OECD, the study investigates and compares the funding models of three bilateral DFIs.

An analysis of existing frameworks for the measurement of private capital by DFIs and MDBs.

The CDFS contributed to Publish What You Fund’s inaugural DFI Transparency Index Report, which details a comparative measure of the transparency of the world’s leading DFIs.