Norway and the Net...

Norway and the Netherlands join infoDev in boosting entrepreneurs

infoDev / The World Bank welcomed new financial support by the governments of Norway and The Netherlands to bolster innovative growth entrepreneurs in developing economies.


Already a supporter of infoDev’s Climate Innovation Center in Ethiopia, Norway increased its contribution to become a core partner in infoDev’s global programs, which foster digital entrepreneurship and agribusiness innovation in addition to climate technology.

For Norway, trade and economic growth is greatly important for development. For these to take place, however, it is key  to have a well-functioning private sector. When launching the development budget for 2015, the Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Børge Brende said “The private sector creates jobs, and generates tax revenues and welfare. Nine out of ten jobs in poor countries are in private companies, and it is in this sector that most jobs will have to be created in the future. Nevertheless, the role of the private sector as a driver of development has been underestimated. We intend to reverse this trend. The private sector needs to become an even stronger force in the fight against poverty”.

“Catalyzing private sector development is an increasing priority for Norway. infoDev’s model of supporting growth entrepreneurs holds significant promise as an alternative tool for increasing sector competitiveness and inclusive growth,” says Mr Paul Wade, Deputy Director, Section for Private Sector Development of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). “As Norway increases its emphasis on private sector development, infoDev injects new thinking that helps us shape our strategy.”

The digital, agribusiness and climate technology sectors have tremendous potential to contribute to dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

infoDev’s mobile innovation hubs have helped to create over 100 digital startups in 11 countries, of which 40% has secured external investment.  With Norad’s support, in the next three years, infoDev plans to pilot a pan-African acceleration program for such digital entrepreneurs and aims to bring star performers from African innovation hubs to scale.

The growing African middle class and global consumers are creating new demand for processed food products from all over the world. infoDev’s Agribusiness Innovation Program, with Norad’s support, will help connect innovative, high potential agribusiness entrepreneurs in Africa with the knowledge, capital and markets they need to grow their enterprises and meet this demand.

Business solutions in climate technology are providing access to renewable sources of energy, clean water, and climate resilient agricultural practices meet the needs of energy access. With the Netherlands’ contribution, infoDev’s Climate Technology Program will provide entrepreneurs in Ghana with mentoring, grants, seed investments, and technology needed to develop clean technology solutions. The upcoming Ghana Climate Innovation Center is part of a global network of eight Climate Innovation Centers around the world.

“By supporting innovative climate-tech companies in Ghana through the Climate Technology Program, we are addressing local climate challenges while creating jobs and improving livelihoods”, says Hans Docter, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Ghana. “It fits with our multi-annual strategic plan to support Ghana’s economic diversity in sustainable sectors such as climate-smart agriculture and water”, he added.

The new support by the governments of Norway and The Netherlands amounts to USD 8 Million in total. “We are pleased that Norway and the Netherlands share our mission to empower high growth entrepreneurs who build innovative, locally relevant and competitive firms. We look forward to collaborating with all of our partners and donors”, said Valerie D’Costa, Program Manager of infoDev / World Bank Group.

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