Norfund is committed to promoting gender equality in our own organization and in our investees.
Norfund’s Gender position was updated in 2021, building on the ambitions already set out in 2016 when Norfund was one of the first development finance institutions (DFIs) to develop a gender position. Norfund reports annually on the Gender Position and the related action plan to the Board of Directors and in the report on operations.
Norfund’s position on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment has three objectives:
- To ensure equal opportunities and promote gender balance across all levels in Norfund
- To promote equal opportunities for men and women across all levels in investee companies and through access to finance
- To engage with relevant stakeholders to learn and where possible influence others to promote gender equality
Gender balance in Norfund’s portfolio companies
Each year, we collect gender disaggregated data from all investees. This enables us to carry out gender analyses at investee and portfolio level, and helps us to create awareness, both internally and externally.
In 2022, the number of direct jobs held by females increased by 11 200 jobs, or 10 per cent, within Norfund’s portfolio companies (with two consecutive years of reporting)*. This compares to an increase of 3 300 jobs, or 3 per cent, in 2021.
* Includes investees directly in Norfund portfolio as well as investees through platforms and funds
Note: The figures below are not directly comparable across years due to changes in Norfund’s portfolio.
Jobs indirectly supported through Norfund’s portfolio companies
Literature suggests that direct employment is only a fraction of the indirect employment that is supported by an investment. Norfund applies the Joint Impact Model (JIM) to estimate such indirect employment impacts supported through our portfolio companies, also disaggregated by gender.
The indirect employment impacts are divided in backward effects, from local purchases and spending of wages, and enabled effects, from power produced and loans provided by banks and other financial institutions.
The model is applied on a subset of Norfund’s active portfolio by end of 2022, directly or through funds, for which sufficient data are available. The results are calculated using economic modelling and do not represent actual figures, rather, they are estimates and should be interpreted as such. The estimates are reported without attribution, i.e. not taking account of Norfund’s investment share in the companies.
Jobs indirectly supported
held by women supported in supply chains
held by women supported through spending of wages
finance-enabled jobs held by women through loans from banks and other financial institutions
Engagement with our investees
Norfund promotes entrepreneurship and self-employment through access to finance as well as equal opportunities for men and women in our investees. Norfund requests information and data on gender balance already as part of the due diligence process to explore areas for improvement and the companies’ intentionality towards gender equality. We also look for gender diversity when taking up board positions with our investees.
The Business Support facility is an important tool in Norfund’s work to support our investees, e.g., through external support on gender gap assessment, gender/diversity strategy development or training.
An example of this support towards intentionality is Norfund’s investment in Finsocial in Colombia. The company already performs well at most levels, but as part of our due diligence we found an eagerness to intentionally improve their work with gender equality. Through the Business Support facility, Norfund supports Finsocial with the development of a gender strategy and action plan for the financial institution to further strengthen their work.
Another example is support for leadership training for women in Norfund’s investees. Norfund has since 2016 closely collaborated with NHO (The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises) and we support talented women from our investees in attending the Female Future Program in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
"My my participation in the Female Future Program in Kenya provided me a lot of insight and practical advice for my day-to-day responsibilities. In addition, the session on board competence made me realize the challenges and liabilities of being a board member and increased my awareness about the dynamics between the management and board "HR Manager Serengeti Energy
Engagement with the wider society
To deliver on our gender position, we are also committed to enhancing existing and exploring new ways of collaboration addressing gender equality & diversity. As a minority investor, collaboration with other partners is essential.
Norfund is a member of the 2X Global and has supported the organisation since its inception. The 2X Global is an international membership and field-building organization and a result of an ambition of G7 countries to increase investments in women in developing countries.
Norfund’s membership is important as it allows us to have a voice in these meetings, learn and share experiences, and we participate in specific working groups, e.g., on diversity, equity and inclusion and gender-based violence and harassment.
During 2022, we strengthened our collaboration with the Nordic DFIs, IFU (Denmark), Swedfund (Sweden) and Finnfund (Finland), on gender equality by creating a forum for sharing and learning as well as exploring collaboration towards investees in which we have co-invested.
We also rely on other partners with subject matter expertise to learn and discuss our approach and challenges. In collaboration with CARE, we also hosted a breakfast seminar ‘Investing in Women is simply good business’ in March 2022.
Greater equality leads to better outcomes for small holder farmers
In early 2022, Norfund invested 20m USD of equity in AgDevCo, a specialist investor focusing on developing African agribusiness.
AgDevCo was established in 2009 with initial endowment funding from the UK government. The organization has already created more than 15,000 jobs and increased the income of 750,000 small holder farmers.
Norfund joined AgDevCo, together with the British BII and American DFC as an active co-owner. And in December 2022, all Development Finance Institutions signed an MoU with AgDevCo which established AgDevCo as a 2X Flagship Fund. This MoU sets out specific objectives in the area of gender equality and diversity, such as promoting and maintaining a gender balance at facility manager level.