Norfund’s Business Support facility aims to enhance the sustainability and development effects of our investments.
Norfund’s Business Support is an important instrument in exercising active ownership and creating value additionality for our investments in high-risk sectors and segments.
Following the Norfund strategy, Business Support projects actively target the four cross-cutting issues of human rights, anti-corruption, climate and environment, and gender equality.
Business Support projects in 2020
In 2020, Norfund received NOK 25 million from the Norwegian MFA to provide technical assistance to our portfolio companies. Throughout the year, the Business Support portfolio consisted of 40 active projects, totalling a committed amount of NOK 47 million. Thirteen of these were new projects to which a total amount of NOK 16.7 million was committed.
Typical areas in the 2020 projects were capacity development and ESG improvement, as well as a dedicated programme on ESG training for fund managers.
COVID-19 related projects
In 2020, responding to COVID-19-related challenges was crucial, and Norfund committed NOK 4.2 million to four COVID-19 related Business Support projects to help companies overcome the crisis. In this context, EDFI collaboration was increased as a way of aligning DFIs on new requests for technical assistance/support related for COVID-19 challenges in our investees. To address and respond adequately to these requests, European DFIs established the ‘TA COVID-19 principles’ which we adhered to.
Business Support projects per region in 2020
The largest share of new projects approved in 2020 focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. In comparison with 2019, there was an increase in the number of projects in this region. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of projects in Asia, from 10% in 2019 to 20% in 2020.
Areas of support in 2020
The largest share of active Business Support projects was in capacity development, including support to the Technical Assistance Facilities of some of our fund managers. The other main areas were projects that focused on E&S initiatives and projects within Corporate Governance.