Norfund creates jobs and improves lives by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development. The establishment and growth of sustainable businesses have been the main drivers of global efforts to reduce poverty over the past 25 years.

Some highlights from 2019:

14 900

new permanent jobs created in 2019

1 010

new generation capacity financed in 2019


new clients served by direct investment in 2019

billion NOK

taxes paid by portfolio companies in 2019

Companies create jobs, pay taxes and supply goods to communities.

In most developing countries, the lack of access to capital is the main barrier to the establishment and growth of businesses. The growth of companies in these settings depends on risk-willing and patient investors.

Norfund contributes to the establishment and growth of sustainable companies that would not otherwise be initiated because of the high levels of risk involved. 

Before any investment decision is taken, the development impact of a project is carefully considered. We invest only if a project is deemed to be commercially viable – as this is a prerequisite for creating lasting impact. The investment must also be additional.

Norfund’s investments are contributing to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Creating jobs

Jobs are vital to reducing poverty. 470 million new jobs must be created by 2030 if we are to achieve the development goals. Jobs generate income and help people to im­prove their knowledge and skills.  We create jobs directly through Norfund’s portfolio compa­nies and indirectly through the supply chains of these companies.

Increasing energy access and supply

Economic and social development depends on a reliable and stable electricity supply. In Africa, 600 million people lack access to electricity. 40 percent of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa report that access to ener­gy is a major operational constraint. Power shortages are holding back economic growth and job creation, as well as the provision of education and health services.


of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa are unbanked


of firms in Sub-Saharan Africa have a bank loan/line of cred­it

Strengthening financial inclusion

67 percent of the adult population in Sub-Saharan Africa are unbanked, and only 21 percent of firms in the region have a bank loan/line of cred­it. Investments in financial institutions are clearly needed.

Despite these needs and the potential opportunities, private investors are often reluctant to invest in financial institutions because of reputational risks and perceived financial risks.

Tax revenue generation

Domestic resource mobilisation is an important way to facilitate sustainable development. A tax base pro­vides governments with essential resources to spend on in­frastructure and public services, such as health and educa­tion.

Taxes and fees are paid by Norfund’s portfolio companies in the countries in which they operate, as well as by other companies in their value chains.

Our Investment Areas

Norfund prioritises investments in four investment areas that are aligned with the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals.

Impact Management

We collect and monitor data continuously on the development impact indicators of Norfund portfolio companies. The companies report on the direct effects of their operations, based on the Harmonised Indicators for Private Sector Operations. These metrics identify both sector-specific effects (for example, energy production or financial services) and portfolio-wide effects (jobs, local purchases, and taxes).

In addition, the case studies and independent evaluations we support give us valuable insights into the indirect development effects of our investments, such as the effects of job creation in the value chain, and the productivity effects of power generation.

Operating Principles for Impact Management

Norfund is a founding signatory to the Operating Principles for Impact Management. These principles provide a reference point against which the impact management systems of funds and institutions may be assessed. They draw on best practices from a range of asset managers, asset owners, asset allocators and development finance institutions and define nine Operating Principles. These principles address different stages of an impact investment that need to be carefully followed up.

Theory of Change

Norfund uses a methodology known as the Theory of Change for planning and evaluation. The Theory describes how and why a desired change is expected to happen. We have developed theories of change for each sector in which Norfund works, to explain the relationship between the input we provide to clients, the link to the Sustainable Development Goals, and the overall impact that we wish to achieve. These theories of change highlight other relevant effects of our investments.

Each theory of change has three components:

  • A narrative that includes a problem statement, a hypothesis of change, and an assessment of the evidence base
  • A diagram visualising the causal pathway, and details of the intermediary steps
  • A framework for monitoring and evaluation