New fund launched for Somali startups

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The Nordic Horn of Africa Opportunities Fund, a US$10 million fund for supporting small and medium sized companies, has launched in Somalia.

The fund has been launched by investment firm Norfund, One Earth Future’s Shuraako initiative and Danish development finance institution IFU, and aims to help Somali entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses, contribute to their country’s economy and tax base, and create a significant number of jobs.

It has an initial capital target of US$10 million, with the primary investment instrument to be the Sharia-compliant “Murabaha” and the average deal size US$250,000. The capital will flow to all regions of Somalia, with investments made into companies in various sectors.

Norfund, the initiator and anchor investor, has committed up to US$3 million, while IFU and the Arsenault Family Foundation have each committed US$2 million. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has supported a first loss component of US$3 million. The fund will fill a gap by funding SMEs that have no other sources of capital.

“This is an important investment for Norfund and an example of how it is possible to do sustainable investment in some of the world’s most fragile states. We believe the fund will have significant development impact in Somalia and also achieve a small yet positive and financially sustainable financial return,” said Norfund chief executive officer (CEO) Kjell Roland.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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