January 14, 2020

My name is Eline. I started my internship in the Scalable Enterprises investment department in Norfund in August. Our focus is on investments in agribusiness and manufacturing companies that have potential for growth and job creation. Now I will present one of the projects I have been working on.

By Eline Westby (Intern)

I am writing a case study about Marginpar, a summer flower producer with farms in Kenya and Ethiopia. In 2018, Norfund invested USD 8.5m as equity to finance the acquisition of several distressed farms. In addition to providing capital, Norfund has assisted in strengthening corporate governance and enhancing environmental and social performance in Marginpar. To get information for this case study, I got the opportunity to travel to Kenya to visit two of the farms. 

Norfund has a regional office in Nairobi, which I got to visit during this trip. We work closely with the regional offices, so it was very nice to spend some time together outside of Skype and mail.

Me with part of the crew at the Rongai farm.

The farms I visited are located in Nanyuki and Rongai in Kenya. It was very inspiring to see the farms’ operations, and how the employees at all levels are involved in continuously improving the way they work.

On my way back home, I spent a day in Amsterdam where I got to meet the marketing and distribution part of the company. I also visited the flower auction in Aalsmeer, which is the world’s largest, where part of the flowers from Kenya are distributed. This is kind of cool if you are into logistics ?  

After the week of getting to know the company, I returned to the Oslo office. I will use the information I got about Marginpar to write a case study that presents Norfund’s role in the company and the development effects of the investment. It was very interesting to visit one of Norfund’s investments, and it was motivating to see in practice how Norfund contributes to development.

It is safe to say that the past few months of working in Norfund have been very educational and fun. It has been very valuable to learn about the challenges and risks of investing in Norfund’s geographies and sectors. The experience and competencies of the people working here are truly impressive.