Financial Inclusion

Development Mandate

By investing in banks, microfinance and other financial institutions, Norfund contributes to increased financial inclusion and in particular to more jobs in small and medium sized companies. 

Key achievements in 2022




new clients served


increase in lending to clients

Strategic ambitions

Norfund has defined two ambitions for its direct investments in financial institutions for the strategy period 2019 – 2022:

  • Offer financial services to 15 million new clients
  • Extend 130 billion NOK more in loans to clients

Both of these targets were reached with good margin.

Accumulated achievements 2019 – 2022

Investments and Results in 2022

Norfund is invested directly in 74 financial institutions (FI), ranging from regional banking groups and funds that invest in banks to local microfinance institutions.


committed in 2022


committed in total FI portfolio

Impact during the strategy period 2019-2022

32.1 million new clients provided with financial services during the strategy period

195.9 billion NOK increased loans to clients during the strategy period

Investments per region

In 2022, a total of 15 commitments were signed with financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Investments per region in 2022

Total portfolio per region

Challenging macro environment

Increased interest rates and sovereign risk are the main trends that affected the FI markets in our countries and posed challenges during 2022. For the banks we are invested in and for Norfund’s return, increased interest rates have positive effects short-term. However, in the medium-term, we are more concerned about the asset quality and the loan growth of the banks we are invested in. The increased interest rates combined with high levels of government debt in our investment countries, lead to increased default risk. For example, Sri Lanka defaulted on its foreign debt in April 2022, where we are invested in NDB Bank, which suffered as a consequence of the default. The government in Ghana also defaulted on its debt in December 2022, which may result in knock-on effects on businesses and banks’ balance sheets going forward.


A challenge during 2022 was the economic situation in Myanmar, precipitated by the military coup early in 2021. Economic development started to slow in 2021, and due to the continued economic slowdown, there have not been any new investments in the area in 2022. Norfund maintains three investments in the country with Yoma Bank and the microfinance institutions Myanmar Finance and Advans Myanmar, trying to operate in a very complicated commercial and regulatory environment.

Highlights of 2021


new investee companies


follow-on investments

The FI loan portfolio developed positively in 2022, with 11 new loans of a total of USD 151.5 million, in addition to the previous portfolio. Despite covid-effects and a challenging macro environment, the FI loan portfolio only has four non-performing loans out of a total of 55 loan engagements.

Large investment in Banco BDI

In 2022, the largest single investment was in Banco BDI in the Dominican Republic. Norfund completed a USD 17.8 million equity investment, which is equivalent to a 20% stake as of December 2022. BDI is a family-owned local bank that offers finance solutions to SMEs. It was founded in 1974 and is currently the 10th largest bank out of 17 in the country, and one of a few banks with SMEs as its main focus. As of December 2022, BDI has a strong brand recognition through a network of 22,718 customers served by 355 employees and 11 branches across the country. This was Norfund’s first investment in the Dominican Republic.

First investment in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Norfund completed a USD 6.75 million investment in CRDB, which will be used to establish CRDB Bank DRC S.A in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will be a banking subsidiary of CRDB Bank Plc., the second largest bank in Tanzania, which sees a business opportunity on increased trade between Tanzania and DRC. CRDB will be the majority shareholder (55%) and Norfund (22.5%) and IFU (22.5) as the minority strategic investors. DRC is the country with the lowest banking penetration in Africa, making this a highly additional investment. The investment from Norfund will be used for capital expenditures, licenses, and initial operating costs. The bank is at end of year 2022 waiting to receive the necessary banking licenses in order to start operations.


Access to high quality, affordable financial services is essential for social and economic development, gender equality, resilience, and livelihoods. Unfortunately, globally around 1.4 billion people are unbanked. It is also a gender issue: women are disproportionately affected: 74% of men and 68% of women in developing countries have account ownership.

While many individuals may not have access to financial services, many more have mobile phone access, making this a useful tool to bridge this gap. FinTech can increase the breadth of available financial services. Our mandate is to increase financial inclusion, making FinTech a natural area of interest for Norfund.  

In 2022, two commitments were made in this area: 

  • Norfund committed EUR 10 million to Wave Money, a digital payments company in West Africa. The investment is part of a syndicated loan led by IFC, of a total of up to EUR 90 million. Norfund’s senior secured loan will support the company’s growth and promote access to affordable financial services for low-income households in Norfund core countries.
  • Norfund committed USD 8 million to Integra Partners Fund II, which was launched in 2021. The main investment thesis to drive access and affordability for financial services and insurance in South-East Asia. Norfund’s investment will provide capital to early growth stage fintech companies and hence improve access to financial services for underserved population in Norfund core countries in Asia.

Financial Inclusion portfolio

InvestmentCountryInvestment yearSectorInstrumentOwnership shareDomicileCommitted (MNOK)
Arise B.V.Regional2016BankingEquity33%Netherlands2835.8
NorFinance ASRegional2013BankingEquity50%Norway502.5
Yoma Bank LimitedMyanmar2019BankingEquity11%Myanmar294.9
AfricInvest Financial Inclusion Vehicle (FIVE)Regional2018BankingEquity21%Mauritius273.6
Mutual Trust Bank LimitedBangladesh2019BankingLoans Equity10%Bangladesh264.2
Banco Promerica Costa RicaCosta Rica2018BankingLoansN/ACosta Rica229.2
Banco Promerica GuatemalaGuatemala2016BankingLoansN/AGuatemala226.7
LAADRegional2004Other financial servicesLoansN/ANetherlands Antilles226.7
NMI Fund IVGlobal2018MicrofinanceFunds25%Norway216
Access Bank (Ghana) PlcGhana2022BankingLoansN/AGhana197.1
Banco Cuscatlan El SalvadorEl Salvador2022BankingLoansN/AEl Salvador197.1
Ficohsa HondurasHonduras2012BankingLoansN/AHonduras197.1
Hattha Bank PlcCambodia2007MicrofinanceLoansN/ACambodia197.1
LAFISE NICARAGUANicaragua2014BankingLoansN/ANicaragua197.1
Banco Promerica El SalvadorEl Salvador2015BankingLoansN/AEl Salvador187.3
BDIDominican Republic2022BankingEquity20%Dominican Republic184.3
NMI Fund IIIGlobal2013MicrofinanceFunds26%Norway165.6
Prasac Microfinance Institution Plc.Cambodia2013MicrofinanceLoansN/ACambodia157.7
The Co-operative Bank of Kenya LimitedKenya2022BankingLoansN/AKenya157.7
FedecreditoEl Salvador2016MicrofinanceLoansN/AEl Salvador149.5
CRDB Tanzania- AFDB CRPTanzania2022BankingLoansN/ATanzania147.9
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)Regional2021BankingLoansN/ATogo147.9
Equity BankRegional2019BankingLoansN/AKenya147.9
Kandeo Fund 3 DebtRegional2021MicrofinanceFunds8%Canada147.1
Banco BDFNicaragua2017BankingLoansN/ANicaragua135.5
Banco Atlantida S.A.Honduras2022BankingLoansN/AHonduras132
Quona Inclusion Fund IIIGlobal2021Investment fundsFunds5%Cayman Islands127.3
Wave Mobile Money S.A./Wave Côte d'Ivoire S.A.Senegal2022Other financial servicesLoansN/ASenegal126.2
National Development BankSri Lanka2021BankingEquity10%Sri Lanka120.6
First National Bank GhanaGhana2020BankingLoansN/AGhana118.3
CIFIRegional2004Other financial servicesEquity34%Panama116.2
Banco Ficohsa Nicaragua S.A.Regional2022BankingLoansN/ANicaragua98.6
MI BANCOEl Salvador2022BankingLoansN/AEl Salvador98.6
FinsocialColombia2022Other financial servicesLoansN/AColombia98.4
Bayport MozambiqueMozambique2022MicrofinanceLoansN/AMozambique96.8
Evolution Credit LimitedSouth Africa2009Other financial servicesLoans Equity12%South Africa95.9
LOCFUND NEXT, L.P.Regional2020MicrofinanceFunds29%Canada93
Accion Quona Inclusion Fund LPGlobal2019Investment fundsFunds5%Cayman Islands84.1
DesyfinCosta Rica2011Other financial servicesLoans Equity23%Costa Rica82.8
ARREND Central AmericaRegional2015Other financial servicesLoans Equity22%Guatemala79.2
Integra Partners Fund II LPRegional2022Fintech fundEquity10%Singapore78.8
Softlogic LifeSri Lanka2020Other financial servicesLoansN/ASri Lanka73.9
Banco BCTCosta Rica2019BankingLoansN/ACosta Rica73.9