View Full Version : A colonial legacy of caring capitalism

15-12-2009, 11:13 AM
IN 1948, the UK exchequer was practically bankrupt. The Second World War had taken its toll on the country's finances and ministers were struggling to find ways to maintain the colonies that still flew the British flag. With £600,000, the Government set up the Colonial Development Corporation with a remit to generate economic activity in the poorer parts of what remained of the Empire, and hopefully to create wealth.

Its first investments were in a palm oil plantation in Malaysia and a cement factory in Northern Rhodesia - now Zambia. Their success prompted more investments elsewhere. Some 60 years on, current chief executive Richard Laing runs an operation that controls more than £2.5bn. Despite moving through several incarnations - the Colonial Development Corporation became the Commonwealth Development Corporation before reverting to
simply CDC - the basic mission remanís the same: to make money at the same time as alleviating hardship - capitalism with a conscience, you could call it