Enabling better futures: Impact investor NMI changes name to Abler Nordic and announces new fund on the horizon
Feb 07, 2023
New Delhi [India], February 7 (ANI/PNN): Abler Nordic is the new name of Nordic Microfinance Initiative, a public-private partnership investing in financial inclusion companies globally, with a strong presence in India. The new name was launched locally at an event in New Delhi on February 6 by Managing Director Arthur Sletteberg, along with an announcement on the start of fundraising in 2023 for Abler Nordic's latest fund.
As the financial inclusion field has developed over the past 15 years, Abler Nordic has evolved along with it. A focus on traditional microfinance matured into investing in a broader range of services that enable people to strengthen their overall financial health and build resilience, which is reflected in the new name.
"Poverty has risen for the first time in 20 years and low-income people in developing countries are hardest hit by climate threats that they have contributed very little to. Well-designed financial services such as savings, micro-credit, leasing, insurance, agricultural financing, and affordable housing finance help people adapt and strengthen their ability to manage economic and climate shocks. Our diverse investments in recent years and active engagement in the companies we are invested in is in line with the wider concept of financial inclusion, and it was time for our name to reflect this" says Arthur Sletteberg, Managing Director of Abler Nordic.
The largest portion of Abler Nordic's portfolio across its four financial inclusion-focused funds is invested in India, with the remaining portfolio invested in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2023 Abler Nordic will commence fundraising for Fund V, with a minimum raise of USD 140 million and a significant allocation for further investments in India.
"India is where we started and continues to be a key market for us, with roughly 40% of our 345 million USD committed capital invested as equity in Indian financial inclusion companies. Since our establishment in 2008, our public-private partnership has contributed to enabling millions of low-income people with a wide span of responsible financial services. We look forward to launching our new fund and to continued growth in India under our new name," said Smriti Chandra, Investment Director and Head of Abler Nordic's India office.
A committed and long-term investor, Abler Nordic plays an active role in the development of the nine Indian organisations it is currently directly invested in: SEWA Grinh Rin Limited (Sitara), Dvara KGFS, Light Microfinance, Sindhuja Microcredit Pvt Ltd, North East Small Finance Bank, Utkarsh Coreinvest Ltd, Satin Creditcare Network LTD., Sub-K IMPACT solutions, and Svasti Microfinance.
A focus on digital transformation is a key part of Abler Nordic's active ownership approach, supporting the use and development of efficient and user-friendly products and services. By enabling companies to create good digital solutions for distribution, processing and collection, potential outreach, scalability and robustness to negative changes in the market are improved.
Abler Nordic invests where the biggest social impact can be achieved alongside sustainable financial returns. Today, Abler Nordic's nine direct investees in India reach over seven million customers, 98 per cent of whom are women and 77 per cent living in rural areas. Since inception over 12 million customers have been supported with access to responsible financial services through Abler Nordic's investments.
Abler Nordic (formerly Nordic Microfinance Initiative) was established in Oslo in 2008 as a public-private partnership and invests in companies in Africa and Asia that offer financial services to low-income households. At Abler Nordic, public investment capital from the respective Norwegian and Danish governmental funds for developing countries, Norfund and IFU, is blended with commercial capital from private investors.
Abler Nordic currently manages five funds, with total commitments of USD 345 million. In addition to original investors, new investors from both Norway and Denmark have joined with each new fund launch. In Abler Nordic's last fund, with total commitments of USD 140 million, 60 per cent of the capital came from private investors. Since 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad have contributed funds for currency hedging and technical assistance. Abler Nordic has offices in Nairobi, New Delhi, Jakarta, Copenhagen, and Oslo, with a total of 22 employees.
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