Norfund has chosen to focus on renewable energy, finance and agriculture and agri-related industry. These are sectors where our activities yield particularly high development effects and expertise of international quality can be mobilised among Norwegian and foreign partners.
Economic growth is closely linked to higher consumption of energy, particularly electricity. An unreliable electricity supply is often cited as the most important obstacle to economic growth in developing countries, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises. Without a reliable source of electricity, enterprises are dependent on private diesel or petrol generators, which are very expensive. A power cut can also mean a substantial loss of income for these companies. In many developing countries there is a high potential for making better use of water, wind and sun in electricity production.
Access to a functioning banking and financial system are crucial infrastructure for development. In order for the private sector to develop, enterprises need access to capital. Banks are the most important source of loans, and local banks are best positioned to assess credit capacity. The possibility of raising loans and saving money is also important for private individuals. A very large number of enterprises and individuals do not have access to what we regard as basic financial services, such as bank accounts.
It is particularly important for Norfund to facilitate access to financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Norfund´s investments in the sector are primarily in financial institutions that are owned locally and have promising growth potential.
Agriculture and food industry (Agribusiness)
Agriculture often employs the larger part of the workforce in developing countries. However, due to low yields and vast areas of uncultivated, farmable land the sector has great development potentials for employment among the poorest, increased incomes and value creation. Modernization of agriculture is often the first phase of the growth out of poverty.
Norfund will only engage in agribusiness in Africa. In order to ensure that we take advantage of our comparative edge, we will invest in other parts of the food industry value chain, for example logistics and distribution, and not just primary agriculture. Aquaculture is also included in this sector.