The investment needs of the developing world are increasing, not at least to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. Norfund’s new Strategy 2019 - 2022 aims to create jobs and improve people’s lives - by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development.
In the energy sector, the solar energy revolution has created new opportunities in the energy markets that can increase access to energy for poor people. In the financial sector, the mobile phone and fintech transformation enables a big leap in financial inclusion. To ensure that these and other opportunities are well exploited, Norfund has been through a comprehensive strategy process.
NEW FOCUS AREAS
The new Norfund strategy was approved by the Board of Directors last week. As access to energy and to capital is fundamental for economic growth and poverty reduction, investments in Clean Energy and Financial Institutions (banks and microfinance) remain two of our core business areas.
One new business area is Green Infrastructure. This includes waste management, water supply & sanitation, and electric transmission & distribution. We believe that investments in Green Infrastructure will contribute to sustainable growth, as well as improved standard of living.
In the coming years, Norfund will also seek to build and grow more scalable enterprises within agribusiness and manufacturing – mainly through funds and industrial partnerships. Investing in such enterprises with significant growth potential will drive industrialisation, economic growth and job creation.
CREATING JOBS FOR AFRICA’S GROWING YOUNG POPULATION
Although today’s global share of people living in extreme poverty is at the lowest level ever recorded, rapid population growth in some of Africa’s poorest countries means that extreme poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated in Africa. Creating more jobs and foster livelihoods, is the only way to fight poverty in Africa as well as in developing countries in other parts of the world.
MARKETS WITH HIGH INVESTMENT POTENTIAL
Western investors are still under-invested in Africa and the flow of foreign direct investments to the region has declined the last few years. This means that the work Norfund and other DFIs are doing in Africa is increasingly important. However, there is large untapped potential for institutional investors to shift some of their investments to developing countries. Allocating funds to sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries may give access attractive growth opportunities and attain a risk diversification in their portfolios. For example, as of today, the IRR since inception of Norfund’s portfolio is 6% in investment currency.
According to the new strategy, Norfund will continue investing in countries and sectors characterized by high risk, scarcity of capital and high potential for impact. Our mandate is to take risk and create impact in some of the most difficult markets in the world. This requires an acute understanding of the markets in which we operate, high ESG standards as well as an acceptance that we will not always get it right.
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As Norfund always is a minority investor, typically with entrepreneurs or industrial investors being in the lead, we also depend on strong, capable partners sharing our values and goals. We in Norfund are ready to share our experience, network and deal-flow with other potential investors. Together we can succeed in creating much needed jobs and making a real difference.