Stepping up funding for job creation and renewable energy

'Jobs must be created in developing countries if we are to succeed in combating poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals. This is why we are proposing to increase support for private-sector development by NOK 338 million in 2018,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

With this increase, total support for private-sector development in developing countries will be around NOK 2 billion in 2018. The increase includes an additional NOK 188 million for the capital allocation to the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund).

'Norfund is our most important tool for private-sector development in developing countries, and is a good illustration of how we use aid catalytically to mobilise new and larger flows of capital. The increase of NOK 188 million is a first step towards the Government's goal of increasing capital allocations to Norfund by 50 % during the next parliamentary period,' said Mr Brende.

Norfund's task is to establish profitable commercial activities in difficult markets, and the fund is also an important instrument for investments in renewable energy in developing countries. Half of Norfund's NOK 16.8 billion investment portfolio is in the energy sector.

'If we fail to provide access to education, create jobs and ensure sustainable growth in developing countries, this will create a breeding ground for poverty and instability. This point is especially important in Africa and the Middle East, where there is a high proportion of young people and many countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change,' said Mr Brende.

The Government will increase support to efforts by the multilateral development banks to boost private investment and job creation in developing countries. Strategic partnerships with the private sector in selected developing countries will be strengthened, and the support schemes Enterprise Development for Jobs and Building Skills for Jobs will be continued.

'Access to energy is vital for business development, job creation and development. We are therefore also proposing to increase funding for renewable energy by NOK 75 million to a total of NOK 570 million in 2018. Promoting renewable energy is important both for private-sector development and in the context of climate change,' said Mr Brende.