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Abler Nordic announces new fund to enable financial inclusion in Africa

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(L-R) Abler Nordic Investment Director- Africa, Godfrey Kaindoh; Arthur Sletteberg CEO and Managing Director, Abler Nordic; Mwangi Githaiga Managing Director, KWFT and Nigel Smith Head of Strategy and Deal Advisory, KPMG East Africa (Photo: Abler Nordic)

Abler Nordic is the new name of Nordic Microfinance Initiative, a public-private partnership investing in companies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia supporting low-income households with financial services. The new name was launched locally at an event in Nairobi on February 21 by Managing Director Arthur Sletteberg, along with the announcement of the start of fundraising for their latest Fund V in 2023.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is one of our key regions, and we are excited to continue our growth under our new name and our new fund. Global poverty has risen for the first time in 20 years and low-income people in Africa are among the hardest hit by climate threats, despite contributing very little to global greenhouse gas emissions. Access to a wide range of financial services such as savings, agricultural financing, and insurance in addition to microcredit helps low-income people adapt and manage economic and climate shocks. Our new name reflects our company’s overall goal: to help low-income households gain access to these types of relevant financial services so that they can lay a foundation for a better life,” said Arthur Sletteberg, Managing Director of Abler Nordic.

At Abler Nordic, public investment capital from the Norwegian and Danish governmental funds for developing countries, Norfund and IFU respectively, is blended with commercial capital from private investors. Abler Nordic has invested a total of over USD 34 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, with current investments of USD 17.5 million. Foreign Exchange Facilities, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enables Abler Nordic to provide capital in local currency and has been instrumental in securing both equity and debt investments in Sub-Saharan Africa of USD 27 million where hedging conditions otherwise would limit such investments.

“The opportunities for inclusive economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa are vast, but more risk-willing investment capital is needed. At Abler Nordic we do not invest where it is easiest or where risk is lowest, but where we believe we can achieve the biggest social impact alongside sustainable financial returns. I am looking forward to continuing to partner with our African portfolio companies alongside our Kenya-based team and seeking new investment opportunities as we continue to grow in Africa,” said Godfrey Kaindoh, Investment Director and Head of Abler Nordic’s Africa office.

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A committed and long-term investor with a tailor-made approach, Abler Nordic plays an active role in the development of the five Sub-Saharan African financial inclusion organisations it is currently directly invested in: Juhudi Kilimo (Kenya), Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, Baobab Group (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Tunisia, DRC, and Madagascar), Baobab Senegal, and Tugende (Uganda and Kenya).  Abler Nordic holds board seats at all their equity investments and partners with portfolio companies to create value and support sustainable growth to help them achieve their mission.

Today, Abler Nordic’s global portfolio companies reach 9.4 million customers, 93 percent of whom are women and 71 percent living in rural areas. Women often face systemic barriers in accessing formal financial products, and rural areas are often the last to be financially served, due in part to infrastructure challenges. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 90 percent of loans are given for income generating purposes, which allow both rural and urban households to start and grow small businesses and improve their quality of life through increased spending on healthcare, education, and home improvements.

Since inception in 2008, over 12 million customers globally have been supported with access to responsible financial services through Abler Nordic’s investments.

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Press Release

Emil Ekiyor Named In “Indiana 250” Most Influential List

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Emil Ekiyor, Founder at InnoPower (Image: Supplied).

IBJ Media has named Emil Ekiyor, one of Africans in the Diaspora leading accomplished community leader and entrepreneur, in the 2024 Indiana 250, the annual list of the 250 most influential leaders in Indiana. The Indiana 250 Most Influential List, now in its third year, recognises the state’s most influential and impactful business and community leaders, representing public and private companies, law firms, universities, not-for-profit, government and community organizations. Mr Ekiyor, is recognised for his accomplishment as a community leader and entrepreneur dedicated to empowering African and African American communities. The list is available at Indiana250.com.  

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Born in Nigeria, Emil embarked on an educational journey to the United States at age 15. He excelled academically and athletically in high school, earning a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida. As a college football team captain, Emil demonstrated stellar leadership and strategic skills. He went on to have a six-year professional football career with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Upon retiring from the NFL, Emil transitioned into entrepreneurship and community leadership roles.

Emil currently serves as CEO of InnoPower Indy Inc., driving innovative community empowerment programs. He has also served as President of the Indianapolis Black Expo Indy chapter and Indy Youth Sports, while serving on nonprofit boards like Friends of Education, Teach for America Indy and the Boys Scouts of America.

With a commitment to advancing black talent and closing wealth gaps, Emil brings collaboration, innovation and courage to his community leadership. He continues to create sustainable change as a beacon of hope for African and African American communities.

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Press Release

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy to Showcase I-PHILANTHROPY Platform at 2024 IMBW @ RALLY

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Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) Chairperson, Thelma Ekiyor Solanke (Image: Supplied).

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) is set to introduce its groundbreaking I-PHILANTHROPY platform at a high-profile roundtable discussion during the 2024 innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, taking place on August 27-28 in Indianapolis. This landmark event, hosted by NPO Chairperson Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke, will explore innovative solutions for creating access to capital in disenfranchised communities.

I-PHILANTHROPY is a cutting-edge digital solution that leverages technology to support Nigerian small business owners and create unprecedented access to capital for micro-enterprises. The platform’s success in Nigeria offers a promising model for addressing similar challenges faced by underserved communities in the United States.

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“I-PHILANTHROPY represents a paradigm shift in financial inclusion and support for micro-enterprises,” said Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke. “We’re excited to share our experiences at innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY and explore how this model can be adapted to empower disenfranchised communities in the USA.”

The roundtable will discuss:

– I-PHILANTHROPY’s impact on capital access for Nigerian micro-businesses.

– Potential applications of the model in US minority communities.

– Strategies for engaging diaspora and global participants in local economic development.

– Opportunities for international collaboration in supporting grassroots entrepreneurship.

This showcase is a highlight of innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, a premier event that combines innoPower’s focus on empowering minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovative solutions to global challenges. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

“The I-PHILANTHROPY platform aligns perfectly with our mission to foster growth and success among minority-owned businesses,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder at innoPower. “This roundtable offers a unique opportunity to learn from international best practices and explore new strategies for addressing capital access challenges in our communities.”

Erica Schweyer, Executioner at RALLY, added, “By bringing together diverse voices from technology, business, and philanthropy, we aim to catalyze transformative ideas that can have real-world impact on disenfranchised communities both in the US and globally.”

 

Sign up for the Roundtable and receive a 88% discount https://innopower.formstack.com/forms/imbwdiscount

 

About Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO):

NPO is at the forefront of leveraging technology for social good in Nigeria. Their I-PHILANTHROPY platform is revolutionizing how global participants can support Nigerian micro-enterprises and contribute to local economic development.

About innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY:

This collaborative event combines innoPower’s focus on fostering growth and success among minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovation and transformative ideas. It brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

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Press Release

Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank to fund underserved MSMEs in Nigeria

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Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank Nigeria Plc to reach underserved MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) at scale. By providing long-term capital and capacity building to unbanked and under-banked companies in Nigeria, the investment is expected to support sustainable private sector development and inclusive growth.

Nigeria, with a population of 230 million, has an unemployment rate at a staggering 33%. Additionally, over half of the rapidly growing population is below the age of 30, which further exacerbates the need for job creation and workforce development. As Nigeria also copes with a multitude of crises, including insecurity, food shortages and inflation, the resilience and power of MSMEs is critical to driving sustainable development and reducing poverty.

Swedfund’s investment aids in advancing sustainable private sector development, encouraging inclusive growth, and expanding access to finance. Access Bank, known for its strong market presence and with a committed MSME strategy, serves as an effective partner to reach MSMEs in need of financing in Nigeria, says Kitanha Toure, Regional Director of West Africa at Swedfund.

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Access Bank is systemically important and well-positioned to reach a significant number of MSMEs in Nigeria. Swedfund’s investment will contribute to direct and indirect job creation and other tax-generating activities as well as improved access to finance for rural and underserved groups, female- and youth-owned companies.

Access Bank is eligible to meet the 2X Criteria, a global baseline standard for gender finance, and recognised as the best SME bank for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

The loan is part of a syndicate led by the Dutch development finance institution, FMO, with a total value of USD 295 million. The syndicate consists of other Nordic and European development finance institutions such as BII, BIO, Finnfund and Norfund.

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