The Norwegian investment fund, dedicated to the private sector in developing countries, officially launched its activities on Wednesday in Côte d’Ivoire.
Active in sub-Saharan Africa for 25 years, Norfund is now present in Côte d’Ivoire. To mark the event, a conference-debate was organized around the theme “Investing in the creation of value at the origin”. Discussions attended by business leaders, experts, bankers and entrepreneurs, according to Apanews.
In her speech, Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen, Executive Vice-President of Norfund – Scalable Enterprises, indicated that “Côte d’Ivoire was identified as a key country in 2019 by the Norfund Board, but the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from actively developing projects there”.
Continuing, this executive from the Norwegian investment fund underlined that Covid-19 has taught the world to conduct business thanks to virtual tools, but “business relationships and business opportunities are forged durably during meetings in face-to-face” like that of today.
In this sense, Ellen Catherine Rasmussen said she hoped that “this event will stimulate many opportunities in the near future” in Côte d’Ivoire. To date, Norfund has capital of approximately $130 million.
The Norwegian investment fund supports African Small and Medium Enterprises in their growth with long-term financing via two instruments: equity participation and commercial loans.
Its priority sectors include agro-food, industry and consumer products, renewable energy (solar, biomass, hydroelectricity), financial institutions (banking and microfinance), sustainable infrastructure (drinking water supply and waste management).
Beyond financing, Norfund supports companies through the granting of a technical assistance envelope in joint participation. This tool is intended to finance the technical expertise and training needs of the company or project.
In 2021, Norfund’s committed portfolio is $3.1 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America. The first direct investment made in Côte d’Ivoire is a USD 10 million loan signed in April 2022 for the benefit of the Ivorian subsidiary of the Singaporean group Valency International. This money is intended for the construction, near Abidjan, of a new cashew nut processing plant at a cost of 20 million dollars.