The Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries (Norfund) reiterated its commitment to driving sustainable economic growth in Nigeria and the rest of the world.
This was made known at its first stakeholder event in Nigeria which hosted key players across multiple industries in the private sector to provide an update on its activities in Nigeria and West Africa.
The exclusive forum and luncheon held in Lagos unveiled Norfund’s intention to increase investments in Nigeria and the West African region with the aim of driving development through investments in the private sector and creating jobs.
Giving the opening remarks, Knut Eiliv Lein, the Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, said, “Set to become the world’s third most populated country, Nigeria is Norway’s most important market on the African continent as we believe that there is a huge opportunity for growth in Nigerian industries.”
Represented by Eivind Fjeldstad, Business Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Abuja, he said: “We are impressed by the measures taken by the government to strengthen the startup community especially, as underlined by The Startup Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October.
“Moreover, Norway is in the process of updating its African strategy and I’m proud that the Norway-Nigeria relations reflect this with business and investments taking centre stage. We thank Norfund for its role in strengthening Nigerian-Norway relations in the most meaningful way.”
Read also: Solar power lights up Makoko community
Owned and funded by the Norwegian government, Norfund is the government’s most important instrument for strengthening the private sector in developing countries, by providing capital through its investments, whilst creating jobs and improving lives.
The fund, which was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 1997, is focused on driving sustainable development with capital in the form of equity, debt and hybrid instruments, and fund investments to businesses and projects with strong developmental impact and commercial returns.
In her remarks, Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen, Executive Vice-President, Scalable Enterprises, Norfund, spoke about Norfund’s mandate to assist in building sustainable businesses and industries.
She said, “At the core of Norfund’s operations is the mission to create jobs, improve lives, and invest in sustainable businesses. Operating within the framework of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which we are a part of, we are able to set our strategy, make investment decisions, and remain agile whilst adapting to market opportunities.
“Africa is the most important region for Norfund. A minimum of 50 percent of the investments we commit to are on the continent because it is the market of the future. We not only support the companies we invest in but also nurture the entire ecosystem as its collective strength will enable us to aid Nigeria in sustainable growth,” she said.
According to her, Nigeria is of key importance to Norfund due to its strategic geographical placement, its young and vibrant population, and its ever-growing economy. “Norfund is here to contribute to realizing this growth potential.”
Meanwhile, Naana Winful Fynn, Norfund’s Regional Director for West Africa, highlighted that Norfund looks to add value outside of its provision of investment capital in many ways, including by supporting companies to institutionalize by developing the governance, risk management, and systems and processes fronts.
“By supporting companies in the realization of their strategic plans and by providing businesses with technical assistance,” she said.