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EDFI Academy: Empowering New Employees through Education and Networking 

08.06.2023 Brussels 12.07.2023

EDFI Academy provides a unique opportunity for new employees of European Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to enhance their understanding of development and impact investing. This three-day academy, organized twice a year, serves as a platform for education and networking, enabling participants to learn from industry experts and engage with their peers from various DFIs.  

The latest event, held in June, witnessed the participation of almost all EDFI members, further enriching the learning experience. 

The EDFI Academy kicked off with a focus on laying a solid foundation in development and impact investing. Participants are introduced to the key concepts and disciplines within the field. Through engaging presentations, industry experts provided insights into the key issues and disciplines in DFIs’ work. Tony Bakels from FMO kickstarts the event by offering an introduction to development banking, setting the stage for a deep dive into the sector. Leandro Schweitzer from FMO shed light on the importance of technical assistance, highlighting how it plays a pivotal role in supporting sustainable development projects. Mariana Barcena from DEG focused on private sector development and country risk appetite, comparing EDFI members’ objectives and approaches with those of commercial and investment banking. Rodrigo Madrazo, CEO of EDFI MC discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with blended finance for EDFIs, emphasizing the role of blended finance in achieving development goals. The day concluded with Colin Buckley from BII/EDFI sharing his personal reflections on a career in a DFI, providing valuable insights and inspiration. This first day served as a crucial starting point for participants to grasp the fundamental principles that underpin the work of DFIs. 

On the second day of the academy, we delved deeper into understanding the European DFIs and their operations. Participants gained valuable insights into the role of EDFI and how it supports its member institutions. Colin Buckley delivered an introduction to EDFI, giving participants an overview of its role and how it supports member institutions. Alina Orrico, also from EDFI, sheds light on EDFI’s engagement with the European Union, highlighting the collaborative efforts in development finance and the Team Europe approach. 

Gustavo Rojas Bermudez from FMO focused on corporate governance, emphasizing its significance in ensuring responsible and effective operations within DFIs. Eric Van den Bosch from BIO introduced emerging markets private equity for DFIs, highlighting the key differences from developed markets and the characteristics of private equity fund investments. Yazici Atam Cansu from PROPARCO emphasized the environmental and social aspects of development finance, underscoring the necessity for EDFI members to provide measures of positive impacts. 

The day included individual member presentations, where each participant had the opportunity to showcase their organization’s strategy, objectives, activities, and recent organizational changes. This session enabled participants to gain a comprehensive understanding of the diverse approaches adopted by member institutions. 


On the final day of the EDFI Academy, the focus shifted towards exploring specific aspects of development finance. Jonas Enrico Luini from TCX introduced participants to the concept of local currency financing, shedding light on its importance and the benefits it offers in fostering economic stability in developing countries. Frank Simon from DEG delves into the critical topic of development effects and impact, emphasizing the need for DFIs to measure and assess the positive impact they create. 

The day concluded with a case study in a breakout session, allowing participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in a practical scenario. This interactive session promotes collaborative problem-solving and further enhances participants’ understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the development finance landscape. 


EDFI Academy

In addition to the enriching educational sessions, the EDFI Academy places a strong emphasis on networking and collaboration. The event brings together new employees from various European DFIs, offering a unique platform to build valuable professional relationships and peer networks. By facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices, participants are empowered to learn from each other’s experiences and broaden their perspectives. 

The EDFI Academy serves as a catalyst for the professional development of new employees in the European DFIs. By combining education, networking, and collaboration, this three-day event equips participants with a solid understanding of development and impact investing. The latest event, attended by almost all EDFI members, further underscores the commitment of European DFIs to nurturing talent and fostering a collaborative environment. Through the EDFI Academy, new employees have the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to the important work of driving sustainable development and positive impact investing.