The Norwegian Investment Fund called Norfund, dedicated to financing the private sector in developing countries and already active in sub-Saharan Africa for 25 years, started its activities in Côte d’Ivoire, this Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Noom Hotel Abidjan -Plateau.
For the occasion, a conference-debate was led by business leaders and experts under the theme: “Investing in the creation of value at the origin”, in the presence of a hundred distinguished guests.
The ceremony was enhanced by the presence of Mr. Kyrre Holm, Deputy Ambassador of Norway for Côte d’Ivoire who carried the message of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his country on which the fund depends.
Ms. Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen, Executive Vice-President Norfund, Scalable Enterprises presented the fund to economic actors and guests. Alongside her were Mrs. Naana Winful Fynn, West Africa Regional Director of Norfund and Mr. Fabrice Mpollo, Investment Manager – Francophone Africa.
“Côte d’Ivoire was identified as a key country in 2019 by Norfund’s board, but restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic have prevented us from actively developing projects in the country. Although we have been able to complete several investments in Côte d’Ivoire in previous years, the financing granted to Valency International Trading Côte d’Ivoire is an important milestone for us and something to celebrate.” said Ms. Ellen Rasmussen.
According to him, Covid-19 has taught them that business can be done through virtual tools; however, business relationships and business opportunities are forged during face-to-face meetings. She added that she hopes that the official launch of their activities on Ivorian soil will stimulate many opportunities in the near future.
The total capital committed in Côte d’Ivoire to date is about 81 billion CFA francs, which is far from the ambitions displayed by Norfund.
Norfund operates across the entire agro-industrial and service sector value chain. It also supports African SMEs in their growth through long-term financing via two instruments, which are equity participation and commercial loans.
The priority sectors for investment and the future sectors of activity under study are those of Agri-food, Industry and consumer products (FMCG), Renewable Energy (Solar, Biomass, Hydro), financial institutions (banking and microfinance), sustainable infrastructure (drinking water supply and waste management).
Beyond financing, Norfund provides non-commercial assistance to companies through the granting of a technical assistance envelope in joint participation (50/50). This tool is intended to finance the technical expertise and training needs of the company or project.
As of 2021, Norfund’s committed portfolio amounts to 1,955 billion CFA francs in sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. The capital committed in Africa for 25 years is 1,324 billion CFA francs. These results are considered generally satisfactory, so much so that it is envisaged to strengthen investments in favor of African companies.
The first direct investment made in Côte d’Ivoire is a loan of more than 6 billion CFA francs signed in April 2022 for the benefit of the Ivorian subsidiary of the Singaporean group ‘Valency International’. The funds are intended for the construction, in the vicinity of Abidjan, of a new cashew nut processing plant, estimated at 12.615 billion CFA francs.
Notable recent achievements include the financing of the first cement plant integrating a calcined clay plant into cement production (2022) in Ghana; the implementation of the Kaizen model in Ethiopian flower farms through the technical assistance business support mechanism (2020); technical assistance: financing a temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution concept for third parties in underserved areas in East Africa (2015); funding and supporting the avocado value chain in Tanzania by helping Africado reach export markets, creating jobs and new sources of income for smallholder farmers.
Note that Norfund is the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries. Our mission is to create sustainable jobs and improve the living conditions of local populations by investing in companies that promote sustainable development. Norfund is owned and funded by the Government of Norway and is the Government’s most important tool for strengthening the private sector in developing countries and reducing poverty. Norfund’s committed portfolio amounts to USD 3.1 billion in sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. Norfund has four investment areas including clean energy, financial institutions, scalable businesses and green infrastructure; sub-Saharan Africa represents 65% of its portfolio to date.