Business News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Norfund – the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries, is to set up its West Africa office in Ghana in the first quarter of this year.
The office is expected to focus on investing in the food and agribusiness value chain in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of Norfund, Mr Kjell Roland, said the offices would represent the broader Norfund company in Ghana and that agriculture experts, entrepreneurs and partners would be hired to manage these offices in order to focus on the food and agriculture sector.
In an interview after an investment seminar by Norfund, he said the experts would concentrate on the various stages of agriculture, mainly from the processing stage downstream to the value chain.
“Much attention is needed in the agriculture sector because it has been ignored for some time now,” he said.
He said the main areas of investments in Ghana were clean energy, financial, food and agriculture sectors, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). And that the fund had already partnered some companies in large-scale energy projects and solar plants and also financial institutions.
He added that by the end of the year there would be growing investments in all the areas already mentioned.
Norfund, he said, was an active, strategic, minority Norwegian investor group with focus on providing capital investments to poor countries.
The company, he said, was looking at getting partners that were ready to work in areas that it was ready to invest in.
“We have invested about US$22 million already and we expect that to grow over the last three years. We will continue investing in SMEs, energy and the financial sector.”
It was, therefore, looking for strategic partners to help it achieve its aim in the country.
Mr. Roland said, “if we find a way to go solo after long-standing partnerships in Ghana, we will definitely explore that option.”
The CEO of Norfund explained: “We will get people to look at agriculture together with some local partners. We will be looking at processing in the downstream value chain.”
“We are not doing primary agriculture; we are going to help build up the value chain for the benefit of consumers.”
He explained that agriculture was very fundamental to economic transformation and a major source of employment in most developing countries, hence it being one of Norfund’s priorities.