Scalable Enterprises

Development Mandate

Growing sustainable scalable enterprises drives industrialisation, economic growth and job creation.

Results in 2022


committed through direct investments and funds

new jobs

jobs created by companies in the Scalable Enterprises portfolio


increase in revenue* (32% increase)

*direct investments only

Jobs are vital to reducing poverty. Jobs generate income, are a basis for taxation, provide security, and can enable knowledge and skills development. In most countries, private enterprises create the vast majority of jobs. This is especially true in developing countries, where more than 90% of jobs are in the private sector.

While the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still lingering, the war in Ukraine has caused further turmoil in many of our markets. Fuel and electricity costs have increased, food inflation is rampant, and accessing capital has become both harder and more expensive. Providing patient capital and contributing to economic growth in developing countries is therefore more important now than ever.

The agribusiness sector is labour intensive and employs a large portion of the Sub-Saharan African population. The sector, however, remains largely underdeveloped in terms of productivity and participation in the most value-adding activities in global value chains. Investing in businesses throughout the agribusiness value chain can thus enable more job creation, increased competitiveness, import substitution and economic growth. Supporting and enabling agricultural production on the African continent is also critical to improving food security.

Manufacturing similarly holds great potential as an enabler of economic growth and transformation in Africa. Few countries have developed their economies without developing a strong manufacturing base.

In Africa, more than 80% of the jobs are within the informal sector. This means that the workers are unregistered, have no insurance or sick leave schemes and have limited access to training. As such, it is crucial to develop formal job opportunities and ensure that these are quality jobs where workers’ rights are protected.

Norfund’s investments in scalable, sustainable businesses help to create jobs, generate government revenue and provide the goods and services that people need.

Lack of finance is a significant obstacle to business growth. The volume of foreign direct investment in developing regions is low. Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in considerable capital outflows from emerging markets.

Growth capital, sector expertise and investors who are willing to take risks are needed to unlock the potential of scalable enterprises in developing countries.

Norfund invests in businesses both directly and through funds. Our direct investments are focused on scalable enterprises within agribusiness and manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa. These investments are always made in collaboration with strong industrial or financial partners.

As a direct equity investor, Norfund acts as a responsible owner. We assist developing businesses in becoming robust and sustainable while supporting their growth strategies. Norfund also provides advice to identify and mitigate environmental and social risks.

Fund investments enable us to reach a broader range of businesses and sectors together with fund managers with local knowledge and business insight than what we have capacity to do on our own. Investments are funnelled through 4 different strategic areas called (1) large-cap funds, (2) SME-funds, (3) venture funds and (4) purpose funds. The large cap funds create jobs and growth through established and well-run companies with a potential to further scale and expand its business activities. SME funds access smaller businesses that traditionally don’t have sufficient access to the capital markets. Venture funds support the establishment of new businesses, most often with a technological approach to their markets which enable them to create new and innovative business models. Lastly, purpose funds target fragile states and areas in developing countries where private capital is most scarce, and where our investments are highly additional.

Strategic ambitions

Norfund’s impact objective for this business area is to foster growth in portfolio companies, both in the form of increased employment and increased revenues.

Norfund has defined the following ambitions for the strategy period 2019-2022:

  • Create 50,000 jobs through direct investments and funds, whereof 3,000 jobs created in direct investments
  • 2 billion NOK revenue increase in direct investments

Accumulated achievements 2019 – 2022

Investments and Results in 2022

Scalable enterprises account for 34% of the Norfund Development Mandate portfolio. By the end of 2022, the portfolio included 37 direct investments and 59 fund investments.


Committed in 2022


Committed in total SE portfolio

Impact 2022

11,300 jobs created

In 2022, the number of jobs in Scalable Enterprises’ direct investments increased by 900. When including the investee companies within our funds portfolio, the total number of new jobs created was 11 300.

The total number of direct jobs in the Scalable Enterprises portfolio (incl. funds) was over 280,000.

32% revenue increase

In 2022, revenues in Scalable Enterprise’s direct investments increased by 731 MNOK (19%). This is a substantial improvement compared to 2020, when revenues decreased by 18%, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Investments per region

Sub-Saharan Africa is the priority region of direct investments in agribusiness and manufacturing. Norfund’s staff in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana played key roles in identifying and monitoring our direct investments.

Investments per region in 2022

Total portfolio per region

Highlights of 2022


new investee companies


new fund investments


follow-on investments


In early 2022, Norfund committed 20 million USD in AgDevCo, an investment fund that specializes on investments in early-stage African agribusinesses to deliver jobs, income, and food security. Norfund invested alongside the British (BII) and American (DFC) development finance institutions, who contributed 50m and 20m USD, respectively.

Established in 2009, AgDevCo’s vision is a thriving commercial African agriculture sector that benefits people, economies and the environment. The organisation contributes to this goal by providing investment capital and technical assistance to grow sustainable and impactful businesses across the agricultural value chain. In doing so, it aims to promote resilience, gender equality and the production of better-quality, more nutritious food.

Since establishment, AgDevCo has invested in 80 agribusiness spread across nine countries – Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. This has contributed to the creation of more than 15,000 jobs and increased income for more than 750,000 smallholder farmers.

AgDevCo’s investments range between 2m and 10m USD. The companies are active in a number of sectors and with different types of crops, both export crops such as avocado and macadamia, food industry for domestic markets, and affordable meat protein such as poultry and fisheries. The portfolio companies are in the entire food sector from primary production, via processing to retail.

One example is the company Tropha in Malawi, which deals in macadamia nuts, chillies and peppers in the north of the country and links 2,500 small farmers to the market. To generate income while the macadamia trees grow, Tropha, in collaboration with small farmers, has provided drip irrigation so that small farmers can grow chilies and peppers that are sold to the company. In addition, AgDevCo partnered with Tropha to train farmers in integrated pest management.


In April of 2022, Norfund announced its investment in the Ghanian cement producer, Continental Blue Investments Ltd (CBI). CBI operates a facility in Tema in Ghana that produces 550,000 tons of cement per year for industrial and residential construction and infrastructure. This was the first direct investment within manufacturing that the department has done.

Cement accounts for about 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Most of the emissions come from the production of clinker, the most important input factor in cement. Through proven technology, however, a significant part of the clinker can be replaced with calcined clay.

By building a 405,000 tons per annum clay calcination unit, CBI will significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the production of cement, while also increasing local sourcing. The project will be the world’s largest clay calcination production unit. By replacing 30-40% of the clinker in the final product, it is expected to cut up to 20% of the overall CO2 emissions from the production of the cement compared to current practices, and 30-40% compared to standard production of Ordinary Portland Cement (including the production of imported clinker). This means estimated avoided emissions of 300 000 tCO2e/year.

CBI will be the first company in Ghana to introduce this technology, and the company plans to increase its footprint in underserved markets in Ghana by more than doubling its total cement production capacity from 555,000 tons to 1.4 metric tons per year. CBI is already one of Ghana’s top five producers of cement and directly employs over 120 people. The company has demonstrated strong growth since inception in 2018 and notable resilience during the Covid-19 crisis.

Norfund is investing alongside the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and the engineering firm FLSmidth as equity investors, with Société-Générale providing senior debt that is guaranteed by the Danish Export Agency. FLSmidth will also serve as the EPC provider of the calcined clay plant.

Scalable Enterprises direct investments portfolio

InvestmentCountryInvestment yearSectorInstrumentOwnership shareDomicileCommitted (MNOK)
Across Forest ASNicaragua2012Forestry and loggingLoansN/ANorway0.315
Green Resources USDRegional2009Forestry and loggingEquity51%Norway558.9
European Financing Partners SAGlobal2006Investment fundsLoans Equity8%None267.7
AgDevCoRegional2022Agriculture, forestry and fishingEquity8%United Kingdom197.1
Phatisa Food Fund 2Regional2021Agriculture, forestry and fishingFunds14%Mauritius189.5
AgrivisionZambia2012Agriculture, forestry and fishingEquity24%Mauritius161.6
Lake Harvest GroupRegional2013Fishing and aquacultureLoans Equity33%Mauritius159.3
Kagera Sugar LimitedTanzania2020Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesLoansN/ATanzania145.3
ASILIA (African Spirit Group Limited)Regional2013TourismLoans Equity32%Mauritius140.4
Hela Investment HoldingsRegional2022Manufacture of textilesLoansN/AMauritius138
FES LimitedRegional2020Agriculture, forestry and fishingLoans Equity23%Mauritius126.3
Valency International Trading SARLIvory Coast2022Agriculture, forestry and fishingLoansN/ASingapore98.6
Lilongwe Dairy (2001) LimitedMalawi2020Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesLoansN/AMalawi96.6
NeofreshRegional2017Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesLoans Equity34%Mauritius94.2
Marginpar GroupRegional2018Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesEquity26%Mauritius93.3
Continental Blue Investment (CBI) Ltd.Ghana2022Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral productsEquityGhana70.3
Redsun Raisins and NutsSouth Africa2022Manufacture of food productsEquity23%South Africa70
Vertical Agro (Sunripe & Serengeti Fresh)Regional2014Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesLoansN/AMauritius59.9
Mars Investment HoldingsMozambique2022Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcyclesEquityMauritius57.9
Freight in TimeRegional2015Transportation and storageLoans Equity24%Mauritius55.6
Seba FoodsZambia2021Manufacture of beveragesLoansN/AZambia49.3
Lona GroupSouth Africa2022Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesEquity17%Mauritius48.6
Synercore Holdings Proprietary LimitedSouth Africa2022Manufacture of food productsLoansN/ASouth Africa46.5
Basecamp ExplorerKenya2010TourismEquity34%Kenya36.4
African Century Infrastructure Services Ltd.Regional2014Other service activitiesLoans Equity20%Mauritius35.1
African Century Real Estates Ltd.Mozambique2015Construction of buildingsLoans Equity21%Mauritius33.9
Nyama World Malawi LtdMalawi2017Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activitiesLoansN/AMalawi32.5
Afrinord Hotel InvestmentsRegional2005TourismLoans Equity20%Denmark24.4
Associated Foods Zimbabwe (AFZ)Zimbabwe2016Manufacture of food productsLoans Equity0%Zimbabwe14.8
Africado Ltd.Tanzania2009Agriculture, forestry and fishingEquity33%Mauritius7.1
African Century NampulaMozambique2017Real estate activitiesEquity32%Mozambique5.1
UAP Properties LimitedSouth Sudan2013Real estate activitiesLoansN/ASouth Sudan3.3
TPS Dar es SalaamTanzania2011TourismLoans29%Kenya3
Sundry FoodsNigeria2019Manufacture of food productsEquity33%Nigeria80.8

Scalable Enterprises funds portfolio

InvestmentCountryInvestment yearSectorInstrumentOwnership shareDomicileCommitted (MNOK)
Development Partners International IIIRegional2019Investment fundsFunds4%Guernsey385.3
AfricInvest Fund IVRegional2020Investment fundsFunds7%Mauritius286.5
Helios IVRegional2021Investment fundsFunds8%Guernsey241.3
ECP Africa Fund IVRegional2018Investment fundsFunds8%Mauritius237.3
Navis CLMVRegional2020Investment fundsFunds17%Cayman Islands237
Vantage Mezzanine Fund IV - USDRegional2021Sector-agnostic fundFunds10%South Africa235.8
Meridiam Africa Fund IIRegional2021Investment fundsFunds4%France209
Adenia Capital VRegional2022Investment fundsFunds8.8%Mauritius197.2
Alterra Africa Accelerator FundRegional2022Investment fundsFunds16.7%Mauritius197.1
Verod Capital Growth Fund IIIRegional2019Investment fundsFunds11%Mauritius190.8
FIPA IIRegional2016Investment fundsFunds38%Luxembourg155.5
KV Asia Fund IIRegional2022Investment fundsFunds8%Cayman Islands147.9
Vietnam Investments Fund IVVietnam2021Investment fundsFunds19%Cayman Islands147.7
CASEIF IVRegional2020Investment fundsFunds26%Canada145.4
Cepheus Growth Capital FundEthiopia2018Investment fundsFunds20%Mauritius144.1
Openspace Ventures IIIRegional2020Investment fundsFunds8%Cayman Islands142.2
African Rivers Fund IIIRegional2021Investment fundsFunds19%Mauritius140.8
Excelsior VietnamVietnam2020Investment fundsFunds19%Singapore140.2
Agri-Vie IIRegional2017Investment fundsFunds11%Mauritius136.3
GroFin SGB Fund Limited PartnershipRegional2015Investment fundsFunds19%Mauritius125.6
Fanisi Capital Fund IIRegional2017Investment fundsFunds43%Mauritius116.1
AFMF: ASEAN Frontier Markets FundRegional2021Investment fundsFunds19.8%Singapore98.6
Ascent Rift Valley Fund IIRegional2020Investment fundsFunds9%Mauritius96.3
Cambodia Laos Myanmar Development Fund IIRegional2015Investment fundsFunds16%Singapore94.5
Ascent Rift Valley Fund LtdRegional2013Investment fundsFunds13%Mauritius85.1
Novastar Ventures East Africa FundRegional2013Investment fundsFunds13%Mauritius83.3
Novastar Ventures Africa Fund IIRegional2020Investment fundsFunds7%Mauritius74.1
Myanmar Opportunities Fund IIMyanmar2018Investment fundsFunds14%Cayman Islands73.4
CASEIF IIIRegional2014Investment fundsFunds24%Canada73.2
CORECORegional2012Other financial servicesFunds22%Delaware73.1
TNB Aura Fund IIRegional2022Investment fundsFunds11%Singapore72.3
Neoma Africa FundRegional2008Investment fundsFunds11%Mauritius71.9
Kinyeti Capital LtdSouth Sudan2012Other financial servicesLoans Equity50%South Sudan71.4
Spear Africa Holding IIRegional2017ManufacturingFunds19%Mauritius69.3
Fundo de Investimento Privado-AngolAngola2009Investment fundsFunds26%Luxembourg61.9
EcoEnterprises Partners III, LPRegional2018Investment fundsFunds5%Ireland56.9
Vantage Mezzanine Fund IV - ZARRegional2021Investment fundsFunds6%South Africa52.2
BPI East Africa LLCRegional2015Investment fundsFunds17%Mauritius51
Frontier FundBangladesh2010Investment fundsFunds11%Cayman Islands49.5
Africa Health Fund (Aureos)Regional2011Investment fundsFunds9%South Africa42.7
Oasis Africa FundRegional2017Investment fundsFunds10%Ghana42.2
Aureos South Asia Fund (Holdings)Regional2006Investment fundsFunds24%Mauritius42.1
ACI Motors LtdBangladesh2021Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailersEquity5%Netherlands41.5
GroFin Africa FundRegional2008Investment fundsFunds9%Mauritius40.2
Solon Capital HoldingsRegional2020Investment fundsFunds30%Mauritius35.8