Chapter 3. Norway’s financing for development

This chapter considers how international and national commitments drive the volume and allocations of Norway’s official development assistance (ODA). It also explores Norway’s other financing efforts in support of the 2030 Agenda. Norway’s commitment to provide 1% of gross national income (GNI) as ODA is underpinned by broad public and political support. As Norway is working increasingly through the multilateral system, the use of funds managed by multilateral organisations has increased significantly since 2013. Core funding has not increased at the same rate, and the share of core funding to multilateral institutions relative to earmarked funding has reduced. In addition, the share of country programmable aid and allocations for least developed countries have fallen. Norway is a strong supporter of domestic resource mobilisation and effectively promotes development finance additional to ODA.


Overall official development assistance (ODA) volume

Peer review indicator: The member makes every effort to meet domestic and international ODA targets

Norway’s leadership within the donor community is epitomised by its commitment to providing 1% of gross national income (GNI) as ODA. Its consistently high ODA levels are underpinned by broad public and political support, including cross-party consensus to maintain the domestic target. Norway’s steadily growing economy continues to result in a growing aid budget, with corresponding administrative demands.

Norway is a generous donor, and consistently meets its international and domestic targets

Norway has consistently met the United Nations (UN) target of contributing 0.7% of GNI as ODA since 1976, and maintains a domestic commitment to providing 1% of GNI as ODA. After reaching 1% in 2009, its ODA/GNI ratio fell to 0.93% in 2012 before rising again in 2013 (Figure 3.1). Norway’s domestic commitment to provide 1% of GNI as ODA continues to be underpinned by broad public and political support, including cross-party consensus inscribed in recent government platforms (Office of the Prime Minister, 2019; Office of the Prime Minister, 2018). The country’s strong economy has resulted in sustained increases to ODA in real terms over recent years: net ODA grew by 1.2% and total official flows by 0.4% on average per year over 2013-17 (OECD.Stat, 2018).1

Figure 3.1. Norway’s ODA/GNI ratio remains well-above the UN target of 0.7%
Figure 3.1. Norway’s ODA/GNI ratio remains well-above the UN target of 0.7%

Note: This graph shows the breakdown of total Norwegian disbursements as recorded in the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS). As for all DAC members, the category “Bilateral” includes support channelled through multilateral institutions as earmarked funding, often referred to as multi-bi. This is a significant and growing category of support in Norwegian aid. Figures may differ from Norway’s own, which typically do not include earmarked funding to the multilateral system as bilateral support.

Source: OECD (2018), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 18 December 2018).

In 2017, Norway delivered USD 4.1 billion in current prices (USD 3.9 billion in 2016 constant prices) in total ODA, equivalent to 0.99% of GNI. Of this, 76% was recorded as bilateral flows and 24% multilateral flows (Figure 3.1). Of the 76% bilateral ODA, approximately 39% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi). A large share of these funds are earmarked at the regional rather than country level.

Total Norwegian ODA in 2017 represented a 10% decrease in real terms from 2016 owing to a significant reduction in reported in-donor refugee costs (OECD, 2018).2 Nonetheless, in 2017 Norway maintained its place as one of the top Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors – the tenth largest donor by volume, and the third most generous as a share of GNI – following Sweden and Luxembourg. Since 2014, all Norwegian ODA has been provided in grant form. Excluding administrative and in-donor refugee costs, 100% of Norwegian ODA was reported as untied in 2017, compared to the DAC average of 82.1% (OECD, 2018a).

Reporting is timely and of consistently high quality

Reporting to the DAC is in line with ODA rules, and data quality is consistently very high. Norway has chosen not to report on private flows since 2002-06 and is encouraged to do so (Government of Norway, 2018a). Given that Norway does not provide loans, its debt relief activities are predominantly related to multilateral channels and Norway therefore does not report any state-to-state debt relief.3 Owing to internal data reforms, Norway has not yet reported on export credits for 2017 and is encouraged to do so in a timely manner. Norway could also ensure that the descriptive information associated with its projects is clear and consistent.

Norway reports some in-donor refugee costs as ODA, including quota refugees and asylum seekers – both accepted and rejected (OECD, 2016). Norway has recently updated its reporting practices relating to in-donor refugee costs effective from 2019 in line with OECD DAC agreed clarifications. As noted in Chapter 1, the number of refugees and asylum seekers has sharply decreased since peaking in 2015 (Government of Norway, 2017a) lowering Norway’s in-donor refugee expenditure (Norad, 2017). In 2017, Norway’s in-donor refugee costs dropped to USD 150 million in current prices, 3.6% of net ODA, from USD 800 million in 2016, 18.3% of net ODA (OECD, 2018a). This compares to the steadier DAC averages of 11% of net ODA in 2016 and 9.7% in 2017.

In the 2016 Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) monitoring round, Norway received a “Fair” rating on the provision of forward-looking information on future spending. The GPEDC noted that Norway could do more to address the medium-term predictability and transparency of its aid, to support its partners’ management and planning abilities (GPEDC, 2016). While some disbursements were postponed due to the significant increase in in-donor refugee costs in 2015, Norway notes that predictability of its funding has now been restored.

Bilateral ODA allocations

Peer review indicator: Aid is allocated according to the statement of intent and international commitments

The shift in the income-level distribution of Norwegian aid – including a growing share of unallocated bilateral ODA, a relatively low and falling share of country programmable aid and more aid to upper middle-income countries (UMICs) – has continued since 2013. Strengthened efforts are needed to address the relative fall in allocations for least developed countries (LDCs). Norway could also do more to reduce the dispersed nature of its bilateral aid. In the context of a steadily increasing budget, the growing share of bilateral aid channelled through multilateral instruments also entails potential trade-offs to be managed to ensure Norwegian aid is best targeted to help partner countries address their needs and priorities, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda.

Addressing the drop in bilateral ODA for LDCs

Norway states a commitment to providing ODA to countries most in need, particularly LDCs and fragile and conflict-affected countries (Office of the Prime Minister, 2018). However, the share of Norwegian bilateral aid allocated to LDCs has not yet recovered to 2008 levels, and the growth in aid allocated to UMICs continued alongside a rising share of aid that is unallocated by income level (Annex B, Table B.3). In 2017, 23.4% of bilateral ODA was allocated to LDCs, a slight improvement on 2016 levels (19.1%) yet below the DAC average of 26% (OECD, 2018a; OECD.Stat, 2018). At 0.27% of GNI in 2017, total Norwegian ODA delivered to LDCs nevertheless far exceeded the UN target of 0.15-0.20%. Bilateral ODA to LDCs amounted to 0.18% of GNI in 2017 (Annex B, Table B.7).

A low share of Norwegian bilateral ODA is country programmable

Since the 2013 review, the share of bilateral ODA that is country programmable has also continued to trend downwards (Figure 3.2). In 2017, 32.4% of bilateral ODA was programmed with partner countries (OECD.Stat, 2018). Although slightly above Norway’s 2016 levels (29%), this is significantly lower than the DAC average (48.1%) and below Norway’s 2011 levels (37%) (OECD, 2013). In 2017, 48% of country programmable aid was used for project type interventions and 41% as contributions to pooled programmes and funds, particularly for NICFI, with the remainder going to technical assistance (10%) and budget support (1%). The share of country programmable aid attributed to South America declined significantly (from 36% in 2013 to 12% in 2017), as disbursements to Brazil through NICFI – which are reported as bilateral but largely managed through multilateral instruments – slowed after peaking in 2013.

Figure 3.2. A low share of Norwegian bilateral ODA is country programmable
Figure 3.2. A low share of Norwegian bilateral ODA is country programmable

Source: OECD.Stat (2017), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 20 November 2018).

Norway’s bilateral ODA is widely distributed, with a high share channelled through civil society organisations

In 2017, 26.6% of bilateral ODA was channelled through civil society organisations, well above the DAC average of 15.4%. In terms of the regional distribution of bilateral ODA, USD 651.5 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, representing 22% of gross bilateral ODA. Aid for sub-Saharan Africa represented 41% of country programmable aid in 2017, a significant increase from 31% in 2013 in line with stated commitments (Office of the Prime Minister, 2018). The share of bilateral ODA channelled to the Middle East and Asia also increased over 2013-17.4 In 2017, USD 440.1 million was allocated to the Middle East (14% of bilateral ODA), and USD 201.1 million was allocated to South and Central Asia (6.4% of bilateral ODA). In 2017, 45% of bilateral ODA was unallocated by region, a decline from 54% in 2016.

In line with Norway’s stated aim of focusing on fewer countries, the number of partner countries fell from 107 in 2013 to 87 in 2017 (Norad, 2018),5 and is expected to drop further in line with recent revisions to its partner country selection (Chapter 5).6 Nevertheless, bilateral ODA remains dispersed when compared with other DAC members (Figure 3.3). In 2016-17, just 13% of bilateral ODA went to Norway’s top five recipient countries, well below the DAC average of 19%, and 22% to its top ten recipients, compared to the DAC average of 29%. This is below Norway’s 2012-13 concentration levels of 22% for its top five recipient countries and 30% for its top ten recipients (Annex B, Table B.4). In 2016-17, Norway was among the top five bilateral donors in only five of its top ten recipient countries.7

Figure 3.3. Norway’s bilateral ODA remains dispersed
Figure 3.3. Norway’s bilateral ODA remains dispersed

Note: 2017 data. Regional allocations and bilateral ODA unallocated by country not reflected.

Source: OECD.Stat (2018), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 3 January 2019).

More bilateral ODA through intermediary funds brings trade-offs

The significant share of Norwegian bilateral aid that was reported as unallocated by country in 2016-17 (Annex B, Table B.3) is largely a result of increased in-donor refugee costs. It also stems from Norway’s growing focus on global goods, which it increasingly finances through vertical funds and earmarked funding delivered through multilateral institutions. As such, the proportion of Norwegian bilateral funding channelled through the multilateral system is increasing: the share of total bilateral aid channelled through multilateral instruments reached approximately 40% in 2017, up from 27% in 2013.

As Norway shifts its allocations model in line with its stated commitment to channel more bilateral aid through multilateral channels, it will need to consider possible trade-offs and implications. This includes to what extent using intermediary funds as a means of managing a growing bilateral budget may limit Norway’s ability to ensure that the allocation of bilateral resources matches its commitments and priorities, such as reaching LDCs and those populations most in need. Other risks include duplicating efforts and thereby contributing to the fragmentation of the multilateral system through the proliferation of instruments and funds (Chapter 5). As its delivery model changes, Norway will also need to ensure the appropriate distribution of capabilities throughout its systems, including embassy staff in the field to ensure oversight of the funds (Chapter 4). It may also entail consideration of how all parts of the Norwegian system – including results and knowledge management – are aligned. Developing a strategy to address these considerations will help Norway strike the right balance in ensuring its bilateral funds are spent in a way that responds to its partners’ needs, priorities and ambitions and meets its own stated objectives.

Given that middle income countries (MICs), such as Brazil and Indonesia, continue to receive a significant share of bilateral ODA, developing a clear strategy for engaging with MICs may also help ensure Norwegian aid reaches those populations most in need, as articulated in its policy documents.

Sectoral allocations are in line with Norway’s global and thematic priorities

The proportion of bilateral aid unallocated by sector increased significantly from 2013 to 2016, from 15% to 33%, mainly owing to increased in-donor refugee costs and the doubling of other in-donor expenditures over the same period. In 2017, the share of unallocated bilateral aid fell to 13%. Although social sector spending as a whole declined, from 39% in 2013 to 36% in 2017, within this, spending on education, in particular basic education, remained relatively stable, reflecting stated priorities (Annex B, Table B.5).

Strengthening gender equality and the rights of women and girls is one of Norway’s strategic objectives. This is largely reflected in ODA allocations, where gender equality is treated as both a cross-cutting issue and a priority area with its own budget line (Government of Norway, 2016). Bilateral ODA commitments totalling USD 687 million (2016 constant prices) supported gender equality in 2016-17, and funding for gender is expected to increase further in 2018. In 2016-17, gender equality and women’s empowerment was the principal or significant objective of 27% of Norwegian bilateral allocable aid. While below the DAC average of 36%, this remains consistent with Norway’s 2015-16 levels (27%) (OECD, 2018a). All bilateral sector-allocable aid was screened against the gender-equality marker.

Similarly, environment is both a cross-cutting issue and a priority area. In 2016-17, USD 641 million (2016 constant prices) in bilateral ODA (25% of bilateral allocable aid) was channelled in support of the environment. 21% focused specifically on climate change (OECD, 2018a). Although below the DAC averages (29% for environment and 25% for climate change), a high proportion of Norwegian funding for the environment is channelled through the multilateral system. Norway uses both the Environment Marker and the Climate Mitigation Marker for its co-operation relating to “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries” (REDD+).8 In line with Norway’s priorities, the 2019 budget proposes further increases in funding for aid targeting climate and the environment.

The increased focus in policy and political commitments on humanitarian assistance and funding for conflict and fragile contexts is increasingly reflected in flows. Humanitarian assistance increased significantly between 2013 and 2017, from USD 258 million to USD 514 million (2016 constant prices). In 2017, humanitarian assistance comprised 17% of bilateral ODA, increasing further in 2018 to support implementation of the new humanitarian strategy (Chapter 7). Similarly, the share of ODA delivered to fragile or conflict-affected settings is increasing: the Syrian Arab Republic became the largest recipient of Norwegian ODA in 2016, followed closely by Afghanistan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and South Sudan.9

Multilateral ODA allocations

Peer review indicator: The member uses the multilateral aid channel effectively

Norway is working increasingly through the multilateral system, particularly in global sectors it considers strategic in this context, such as climate, health, and education. In line with this trend, the use of funding instruments managed by multilateral organisations has increased significantly since 2013. The share of core funding to multilateral institutions relative to non-core funding has fallen.

Norway is increasingly using multilateral aid channels in its strategic sectors

The trend towards multilateral and away from bilateral spending is a stated strategy at both the political and administrative levels. Norway has increased the relative share of its multilateral funding by shifting its bilateral focus away from the sectors it considers strategic to fund through the multilateral system – such as climate, education and global health – while also managing a growing budget. In 2017, the share of total ODA channelled to and through multilateral institutions as core and earmarked funding increased to 54%. This compares with the DAC average of 43% of net ODA, and is up from Norway’s own levels in 2016 of 44% (Figure 3.4). Of this, pooled or basket funds represented the greatest increase.

Figure 3.4. Multilateral contributions relative to total multilateral spending
Figure 3.4. Multilateral contributions relative to total multilateral spending

Source: OECD.Stat (2017), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 18 December 2018).

As bilateral funding channelled through multilateral instruments has increased, core funding of multilateral organisations as a percentage of total multilateral funding has trended downwards. In 2017, USD 998 million (current prices) was allocated as core funding to multilateral organisations. This amounted to 45% of Norway’s total use of the multilateral system in 2017, a consistent decrease in relative terms from 2013 levels (52%). The increased use of intermediary funds is also mirrored by a trend away from increased core funding for UN agencies, which has remained more or less constant in the same period. In 2017, 42% of Norway’s total core contributions to multilaterals went to the UN system, 12% to the World Bank, 10% to regional development banks, and 36% to other multilaterals (OECD.Stat, 2018). This compares to 50% of core contributions going to the UN system in 2013. The share of core contributions relative to non-core funding for the UN also declined: from 46% of total funding to the UN system in 2013 to 37% in 2017. This drop is further reflected in the share of core funding to the UN system relative to total core funding to multilateral institutions, which fell from 16.4% in 2013 to 14.8% in 2017 (OECD.Stat, 2018).

Norway provides significant earmarked funding for multilaterals

In 2017, earmarked funding to multilateral organisations amounted to USD 1.2 billion (current prices), i.e. 30% of total ODA, well above the DAC average of 15.3%. This also represents a 48% increase between 2013 and 2017, channelled largely in support of Norway’s thematic initiatives. Norway’s stated priority of maintaining investments for access to education, in particular for girls, and improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, are largely pursued through intermediary funds.10 Together with Canada, the United Nations and the World Bank, Norway launched the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in 2015, to increase investment in maternal and child health in developing countries in support of the Every Woman Every Child strategy. Norway is also the largest contributor to UNICEF’s thematic education fund. In 2017, Norway provided NOK 5 billion (USD 600 million) in health aid, with its key agreement partners being Gavi (to which it contributed 12% of the vaccine alliance’s total core funding); the World Bank; and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (OECD.Stat, 2018).11

As Norway shifts its model towards greater use of multilateral channels, it should develop a clear strategy for core and non-core allocations, aligned with an overall strategy for engagement with multilateral organisations. In addition, Norway could regularly review the overall balance between its core, earmarked and other bilateral funding based on evidence of their relative effectiveness (OECD, 2018b). It will also be important to consider the implications this shift towards multilateral delivery might have for Norway’s quality assurance and risk management. There is no evidence that the upward trend in multilateral financing has resulted in any efficiencies in corruption risk management. In some instances it has rendered Norway ill-placed to effectively track corruption risk management responses.

Stepping up Norway’s influence on boards to address challenges, while also seeking to limit instances where its new initiatives may contribute to duplication and fragmentation will be important if Norway continues to increase its use of these channels (Chapter 5).

Financing for development

Peer review indicator: The member promotes and catalyses development finance additional to ODA

Through technical co-operation and its development finance institution (DFI), Norway demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting and catalysing development finance additional to ODA. Using its expertise and experience, Norway also remains at the forefront of key issues relating to domestic resource mobilisation, such as taxation and natural resource management. While spending on tax declined in 2016, Norway is now on track to meet its commitments in accordance with the Addis Tax Initiative.

Norway prioritises efforts to catalyse development finance additional to ODA

In line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Norway actively seeks to catalyse other resource flows that promote sustainable development, and states its commitment to using development aid in a way that triggers private resources to promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (Government of Norway 2017b; Office of the Prime Minister, 2018). It seeks to do so both multilaterally and bilaterally (Government of Norway, 2015a), including through its DFI, through funding for the World Bank and UN, and other forms of development finance including trade and foreign investment (Government of Norway, 2015b). Additional priorities include promoting business development and job creation in low-income countries through bilateral technical co-operation programmes, such as Oil for Development and Tax for Development, which aim at strengthening competence and capacity in partner countries’ public institutions.

The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) is the primary instrument for promoting private-sector development and job creation in partner countries (Box 3.1). Over half of Norwegian bilateral support for private sector development in developing countries is channelled through Norfund.12 This prioritisation of Norfund for private sector engagement creates focus and coherence, and avoids the fragmentation that may come with the use of multiple instruments. This should be seen as good practice.

The Board of Norfund is responsible for its investment strategy in line with Norfund’s statutes. While the Ministry is not a member of the Board, the Ministry is invited to attend the annual shareholder meeting. Norfund consistently meets internally set targets relating to priority sectors such as renewable energy, small and medium-sized enterprises and agribusiness, and is generally aligned with Norwegian development objectives (Norad, 2015). The broad formulation of Norfund’s mandate and objectives, and its independence, also enable it to maintain a significant risk appetite and invest in markets where others would not, contributing to its additionality.

The government has committed to increase capital allocations to Norfund at least through to 2021 (Government of Norway, 2017b). Ensuring that this scale-up of Norfund’s activities forms part of a broader strategy for Norway’s multilateral and bilateral allocations, such as by including Norfund’s activities in the Ministry’s country strategies, will also be important. Including Norfund’s activities in country strategies might also facilitate better co-ordination in the field and improved information sharing and learning across Norfund, the Ministry and Norad, particularly in those sectors in which Norfund plays a leading role at the country-level.

There is scope for Norfund to improve its monitoring and reporting methods, particularly in light of ongoing increases in capital allocations. This should include strengthening indicators to promote better learning from operations over time, and feeding this learning back into Norway’s development co-operation system. In the absence of ex-ante assessments of investment decisions and the linking of these assessments with the development of investment strategies, steps could also be taken to provide disaggregated data (including gender) to support more consistent analysis and direction.

Norway could use its sovereign wealth fund to invest more in sustainable development

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, was established in 1990 to manage Norway’s petroleum revenues. In 2017, the Fund reached a total value of USD 1 trillion making it among the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. The Fund is largely invested in equities as well as bonds and real estate. Ensuring a stable return for Norway’s current and future generations is a key underlying principle for the fund manager. Given Norway’s strong commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the size and reach of the Fund, there is an opportunity to invest more in sustainable development in developing countries, while ensuring stable returns. The scale of the Fund’s activities also highlights the need to ensure existing investments do not negatively impact on sustainable development (Section 1.2).

Norway’s partners value its willingness to mobilise its technical expertise and support for domestic resource mobilisation

Reflecting Norway’s commitment to using aid as a catalyst for increased development funding, including support for domestic resource mobilisation (Government of Norway, 2017b), USD 6.5 million of ODA was spent on domestic resource mobilisation in 2016 (OECD.Stat, 2018). Norway budgeted NOK 66 million (USD 7.7 million) in 2017 and NOK 163 million (USD 19.4 million) in 2018 on tax-related development assistance and, despite a decrease in spending immediately after 2015, is now on track to meet its Addis Tax Initiative commitment of doubling domestic revenue-related spending by 2020.13

Prioritising capacity-building, knowledge transfer and the provision of technical assistance to partner countries is a stated strategy of the current government (Office of the Prime Minister, 2018). This strategy translates into several initiatives in support of domestic resource mobilisation, including the Tax for Development and Oil for Development programmes. Tax for Development was launched in 2011 to co-ordinate work in areas related to taxation and illicit financial flows. To fulfil Norway’s 2015 Addis Tax Initiative commitment, the Government has stated its intention to “step-up” Tax for Development, by providing additional technical assistance to partner countries and through ongoing multilateral efforts, including with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the OECD. Norway also contributes to the UN Tax Committee of Experts on International Co-operation in Tax Matters in developing normative standards in tax policy and collection.

Box 3.1. Norway’s DFI, Norfund

Norfund strategically concentrates its investments in high-risk regions

Established in 1997 and regulated by an Act of Parliament, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) aims to mobilise other financial flows, including private-sector investment, to contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation, economic development, and the transfer of knowledge and technology in developing countries (Norfund, 2016; Government of Norway, 2018c). It achieves this by taking minority stakes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and investing in private equity and venture-capital funds targeting SMEs needing early phase or growth capital.

Capitalisation is derived from a combination of annual capital allocations over the aid budget, and from dividends and asset sales (Norfund, 2016). Norfund’s capital base has increased substantially in recent years, reaching USD 200 million in 2018, with additional commitments for the period 2018-21 (Government of Norway, 2015a).1 Funds are invested through private-sector instruments, with a comparatively high share of equity and equity-like investments (86%) compared to other European DFIs (European Development Finance Institutions, 2018).2 The remainder of Norfund’s investments comprise loans (13%) and guarantees (1%). Norfund is a minority shareholder that always co-invests with other commercial partners, Norwegian or foreign.

While Norfund operates within the framework of general Norwegian development policy, Norfund is largely independent and final investment decisions are made by its Board (Annex D). The Ministry is not on the Norfund Board. Changes in the direction of Norfund’s activities are decided at the annual meeting. The only target set by the Storting is that 50% of the capital allocated to Norfund, over time, should be invested in renewable energy (Norfund, 2016). Investments in sub-Saharan Africa and LDCs should also be prioritised. Clean-energy, financial institutions, SMEs and food, as well as a geographical focus on sub-Saharan Africa, are stated Norfund priorities, broadly aligned with Norway’s development co-operation polices (Norfund, 2016; Norad, 2015).

As with other DFIs, the leverage effect of Norfund’s investments is difficult to measure, and it remains a challenge for Norfund to assess the impact of its investments on development in the countries hosting the activities. However, Norfund’s strong claims for developmental impact derive from several unique elements. A broad mandate and flexible model allow it to maintain a significant risk appetite and enter markets where others would not. Furthermore, the significant focus on electricity and energy sectors in its portfolio is aligned with both Norway’s development priorities and the objectives of the host countries in which it is active, notably in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, Norfund’s grant facility scheme – which allows it to co-finance improvement initiatives such as management systems, governance policies and routines, energy efficiency, accounting, occupational health and safety, and capacity-building – also supports development.

1. The 2016-17 private sector white paper committed to increasing allocations to Norfund by 50% over a four-year period from NOK 1.5 billion (approximately USD 183 million) in 2017. Between 2012 and 2016, Norfund’s capital base also increased substantially, from NOK 7.9 billion in 2012 to over NOK 14 billion in 2016.

2. In 2017, equity and quasi-equity investments made by European Development Finance Institutions averaged 49%, 49% were loans, and 2% guarantees. The share of equity and quasi-equity type investments was almost double for Norfund (86%). The remainder comprised loans (13%), and guarantees (1%) (European Development Finance Institutions, 2018).


Government sources

Government of Norway (2018a), “OECD DAC Peer Review of Norway’s Aid Programme: Memorandum of Norway”, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo.

Government of Norway (2018b), “Restructured budget proposal for 2019 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”,

Government of Norway (2018c), Minister of International Development’s address to the Storting, on Norway’s international development policy, 26 April 2018 (Government of Norway, 2018b),

Government of Norway (2017a), Immigration and Integration 2016–2017: Report for Norway, Government of Norway, Oslo,

Government of Norway (2017b), “Common Responsibility for Common Future: The Sustainable Development Goals and Norway's Development Policy – Report to the Storting (white paper)”, Meld. St. 24, English summary, Government of Norway, Oslo,

Government of Norway (2016), Freedom, empowerment and opportunities: Action Plan for Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy 2016-2020, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo,

Government of Norway, (2015a) Working together: Private sector development in Norwegian development cooperation, Meld. St. 35, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, Norway.

Government of Norway, (2015b) Globalisation and trade: Trade policy challenges and opportunities for Norway, Meld. St. 29, Report to the Storting, English Summary.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018); Norway’s humanitarian strategy, an effective and integrated approach, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo.

Norad (2018), “More Norwegian aid for crisis and conflict”, (accessed on 12 October 2018).

Norad (2015), Evaluation of the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund), Evaluation Department, Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation, Oslo.

Norfund (2016), Norfund Strategy (2016-2020), Norfund, Oslo,

Office of the Prime Minister (2019), Granavolden-plattformen,

Office of the Prime Minister (2018), The Jeløya-platform,

Other sources

European Development Finance Institutions (2018), “Association of Bilateral European Development Finance Institutions: Members Facts and Figures”, European Development Finance Institutions, Brussels, (accessed on 15 November 2018).

GPEDC (2016), Dashboard – Effective Co-opration (database), (accessed on 24 November 2018).

OECD (2018a), Development Co-operation Report 2018: Joining Forces to Leave No One Behind, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2018b), Multilateral Development Finance: Towards a New Pact on Multilateralism to Achieve the 2030 Agenda Together, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2017), Aid at a Glance – DAC Members, OECD-DAC Statistics, Paris,

OECD (2016), ODA Reporting of In-Donor Country Refugee Costs, OECD-DAC Statistics, Paris,

OECD (2013), OECD Development Co-operation Peer Review: Norway, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD.Stat (2018), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 18 December 2018).

OECD.Stat (2017), Creditor Reporting System (CRS) (database), (accessed on 17 December 2018).


← 1. The National Budget 2019 proposed increasing appropriations for ODA by NOK 2.5 billion (kroner) (approximately USD 230 million).

← 2. Reported in-donor refugee costs fell from USD 800 million in 2016 to USD 143 million in 2017.

← 3. Of the 26 activities reported by Norway since 2011 as debt relief, 20 were related to multilateral organisations, 4 were grant compensations to the African Development Bank; 1 was a grant to the Norwegian trust fund for debt sustainability; and 1 was allocated to Liberia with the label “Arrear clearance of multilateral debt relief – World Bank” (OECD.Stat, 2017).

← 4. The principal recipients were the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Afghanistan, Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon, Nepal, Indonesia and Iraq.

← 5. This excludes support to civil society and support provided as emergency assistance (Norad, 2018).

← 6. The proposal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests Norway should focus on 16 countries on the basis of either strategic long-term co-operation, or countries with a high degree of fragility and instability (Government of Norway, 2018b).

← 7. In 2016-17 Norway’s top ten recipients were Syrian Arab Republic, Brazil, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Malawi, Ethiopia, Somalia and Colombia.

← 8. REDD+ refers to efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

← 9. As the second highest recipient of Norwegian ODA Brazil remains a clear outlier, given the high-volumes of bilateral ODA channelled via the NICFI programme.

← 10. For example, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GAVI – the vaccine alliance, and the Global Partnership for Education.

← 11. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is also an important partner, receiving NOK 100 million in 2017.

← 12. Between 2006 and 2013, 53% of Norwegian bilateral aid for private sector development was channelled through Norfund (Norad, 2015).

← 13. As a member of the Addis Tax Initiative, Norway committed to doubling its spending on Tax for Development over 2015-20.

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