Financial Inclusion

Norfund invests in banks, microfinance, and financial technologies to strengthen financial inclusion

Renewable Energy

Financial Inclusion

Green Infrastructure

Scalable Enterprises


total portfolio of Financial Inclusion


increase in lending to clients in 2021*


new clients served in 2021*

*Numbers for the previous year are updated annually in June

Why invest in Financial Inclusion?

A well-functioning financial system is crucial for private sector development and job creation.

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. In Sub-Saharan Africa for example, 67% of the adult population is unbanked. Due to this, investing in broad-based financial institutions and microfinance is a priority for Norfund.

Our Ambitions

In our strategy 2023-2026, our defined ambitions are:


new clients


increase in lending provided

What We Invest in

Financial Inclusion is Norfund’s second largest investment area. We focus on

  • Commercial banks
  • Microfinance institutions
  • Other financial services, including non-deposit taking lenders, insurance and leasing

Commercial Banks

The banking sector in poor countries is often underdeveloped. Therefore, Norfund aims to develop efficient, scalable banks that can provide more targeted and less expensive services to medium sized and large institutions willing to target small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the retail market and individuals through a reduction in sector costs and increased capabilities. This may be achieved through a combination of skills development and technology utilization as well as in many cases improved corporate governance.

Microfinance Institutions

Microfinance includes financial services offered to low-income individual entrepreneurs and micro-companies without access to traditional banking services. Microfinance services usually include microcredit, deposits and insurance. Norfund invests in commercialized microfinance institutions with the willingness and ability to scale and maximize reach and development impact. Adherence to the Client Protection Pathway is encouraged.

Non-Bank Financial Institutions

Norfund invests in non-bank financial institutions that are committed to serving SMEs, including insurance, leasing, payment and lending institutions specializing in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, education, and housing. Norfund also invests in technology-driven financial institutions.

Where We Invest

Norfund invests in countries where we can have the greatest impact. We prioritise investments in Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Commitments by region as of 2021* (MNOK)

*Numbers for the previous year are updated annually in June

What We Offer

Norfund is an active minority investor. We offer risk capital through equity, loans and funds to companies that meet our requirements.

To maximise financial and developmental success, Norfund strives to be a value adding owner beyond the capital investment. Norfund’s investment teams have extensive experience in project development and governance, and work closely with the partners to develop the companies. Norfund takes a position as an active owner and requires a board seat in equity investments. With more than 20 years' experience of investing in developing countries, Norfund continuously builds and develops the expertise needed to invest and manage risks in order to succeed as an investor.

Existing Partnerships

Norfund invests with or via partners to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. We prefer to partner with large, well-known and respected companies with local presence and a long-term horizon, whose interests align with those of Norfund.

Arise is a bank invest­ment company in Sub-Saharan Africa with a USD 1 billion portfolio of large equity stakes in 10 leading African banks which have top 3 positions in close to 20 African countries. Norfund is the largest shareholder with more than 40 percent of the shares in Arise, and it is Norfund’s main vehicle for equity investments in larger African banks.

Abler Nordic (formerly NMI) was established in 2008 as a Norwegian initiative through a partnership between Norfund and the private investors Ferd, DNB, Storebrand and KLP. NMI has so far delivered both impact and solid returns and our objective is to develop Abler Nordic to become a leading Nordic player in the field of financial inclusion investments.

KLP is Norway’s largest life insurance company is an important strategic financial partner for Norfund. Since 2013, KLP and Norfund have co-invested in several financial institutions and renewable energy projects in developing countries, mainly in Africa

Head of Financial Inclusion department:

Contact person in Financial Inclusion department: