About Norfund

Norfund is the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries, investing to create jobs, improve lives and support the transition to net zero.

Norfund is owned and funded by the Norwegian Government and is the Government’s most important tool for strengthening the private sector in developing countries, and for reducing poverty.

Norfund’s mandates

Norfund’s overall mandate is defined by the Norfund Act of 1997. The Act states that Norfund’s role is to assist in building sustainable businesses and industries in developing countries by providing equity capital and other risk capital.

Norfund has two investment mandates:

  • Development: Create jobs and improve lives by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development
  • Climate: Investing in the transition to net zero in emerging markets

The Climate Mandate is undertaken through the Climate Investment Fund. Read more about that work here.

Investing where others will not

To fulfil our mandates effectively, we focus on countries and investment areas in which capital is scarce and our development impact is likely to be strong. Capital is scarce where other investors are reluctant to invest because of high levels of real or perceived risk. The extent to which an investment contributes to an outcome that would not have happened otherwise is often referred to as ‘additionality’. These two criteria – additionality and impact – constitute the backbone of our strategy.

More about additionality

Norfund’s main investment region is Sub-Saharan Africa. Norfund also invests in selected countries in Asia and Latin America.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 1 is to end poverty. To achieve this, the development aid industry needs to focus on Sustainable Growth, Social Development, and Institution Building. Norfund is contributing to the achievement of this Goal by building sustainable economic growth.

Norfund is willing to assume more risk than most other investors. We prioritise projects that have strong potential development effects and profitability.

Profitability is a precondition

Companies only survive if they are profitable. This means that profitability is essential for the creation of sustainable jobs and lasting development effects.

Norfund enhance profitability and development effects through active ownership and business development support.

Investing for development

Norfund invests in companies that will contribute to economic and social development through:

  • the direct and indirect jobs they provide
  • the goods and services they offer
  • the taxes they pay

Organization

The Norwegian Parliament

established Norfund through the Norfund Law in 1997. Norfund is fully funded by the Norwegian International Development Assistance budget. The Parliament approves Norfund´s annual capital allocation. 

The Minister of International Development

has constitutional responsibility for Norfund. The Norwegian Minister of International Development constitutes the General Assembly and exercises the highest authority in the fund. The General Assembly approves Norfund’s statutes and selects the Board of Directors.

Norfund’s Board of Directors

is appointed by the Norfund General Assembly and ensures that the Fund operates in accordance with the Norfund Act and its related statutes. The Board of Directors decides Norfund’s strategy, employs the CEO and approves investments which exceed specified thresholds.

Norfund Management Team

manages the Fund according to Norfund´s mandate of creating jobs and improving lives in developing countries.

The Investment Committee

Norfund’s Investment Committee (IC) is an important entity in Norfund, both for quality assurance and to make better de­cisions. The IC is led by the CEO, has eight members, whereof two are external. While the CEO/Management Team can decide on investments up to USD 4 million, the IC is mandated to decide on investments between USD 4 – USD 20 million and commercial exits. The IC shall also review investment pro­posals above USD 20 million, but final approval is to be made by the Board of Directors.

A member of EDFI

Norfund is part of EDFI, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions.

EDFI – the Association of European Development Finance Institutions – was established in 1992 to support and promote the work of bilateral Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). With a combined portfolio of €44 billion, including over €10 billion of climate finance, EDFI’s 15 member institutions share a vision of a world where the private sector offers people in low and middle-income countries opportunities for decent work and improved lives, and where private investment flows are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. EDFI’s mission is to promote the joint interests of its members, inform policy, and drive innovation in industry standards. EDFI’s membership includes BIO (Belgium), CDC Group (UK), Cofides (Spain), DEG (Germany), Finnfund (Finland), FMO (The Netherlands), IFU (Denmark), Norfund (Norway), OeEB (Austria), Proparco (France), SIFEM (Switzerland), Simest and CDP Development Finance (Italy), SOFID (Portugal), Swedfund (Sweden).

Relevant Definitions

  • Developing countries = Countries classified by the OECD as Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC) and below, and other countries that may receive assistance through business aid schemes
  • Sustainable businesses = businesses that are financially sound and operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The Norfund Way

As a responsible investor, Norfund is committed to act in accordance with applicable laws and with the highest ethical standards, every day. We call it the Norfund Way.

The Norfund Way includes five values and forms the basis for our corporate culture as well as our Code of Conduct. The aim is to establish a corporate culture that is specific and concrete, and that describes what type of attitudes and actions we believe promote Norfund’s mandate the best.