At the end of 2014 Norfund committed four new, important investments in Central America, on in renewable energy and three in financial institutions:
- The Scatec Solar Agua Fria project is a 60 MW solar project in Honduras which Norfund and KLP committed on 23 December. This project will help expand renewable energy generating capacity in Honduras and will assist in strengthening private sector energy developers. It will one of the first solar projects in the country, and will contribute to increasing power supply and reducing dependence on expensive diesel generation, currently responsible for 55% of the generation mix. The project also opens the door for a larger Scatec involvement in Central America.
- Norfund has invested in Banco Industrial El Salvador (BIES), a small bank that opened its door to the public in 2011. In El Salvador, the banking sector is dominated by multinational conglomerates and large Colombian banks that focus their efforts on servicing large corporate clients. In contrast, BIES targets small and medium-sized enterprises in three main sectors: manufacturing, services and commerce.
- In Nicaragua, Norfund has provided a senior loan to Banco LAFISE Nicaragua, the largest operation of the LAFISE group in Central America. Norfund’s loan will help increase access to capital for SMEs in Nicaragua. Banco LAFISE has widespread market reach with 79 branches and 160 ATMs all over Nicaragua. Is has an extensive network also in rural areas, providing credit to farmers producing crops such as coffee, rice, sugar and peanuts.
- Norfund has also invested USD 11.5 million in equity in CIFI to strengthen their work with infrastructure projects in Central America.