Asilia welcomes Norfund as a new cornerstone investor; Norfund funds to be used to develop new responsible wilderness tourism projects in Africa
Oslo (Norway) and Arusha (Tanzania), 18 November 2013
Asilia Africa (“Asilia
”) and the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (“Norfund
”) are delighted to announce the entering of Norfund as a new cornerstone investor in the share capital of Asilia with an investment of US$ 5 million.
“Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Asilia’s history”, says Jeroen Harderwijk, Asilia’s Co-Founder and Managing Director. “We feel that Norfund coming onboard as a significant shareholder, with a long term investment horizon, is a strong vote of confidence in our company, our business model and our positive impact strategy. Asilia and Norfund have a lot in common, first and foremost a willingness to take a long-term vision to protecting crucial natural habitats and improving livelihoods of local people in these areas through responsible wilderness tourism. The entrance of Norfund in our share capital will finance our growth ambitions for the coming years in Eastern and Southern Africa.”
“The tourism industry is of strategic importance for Sub-Saharan Africa, given its strong development impact”, says Kjell Roland, Norfund’s Managing Director. “Asilia is a top player in this industry, with excellent capabilities, strong prospects for future growth and high governance standards. Norfund are always looking for companies that harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Asilia is a best-in-class example of such a company, having successfully married a profitable and sustainable business model with strong and meaningful conservation and community development impact. Of particular interest to us is Asilia’s work in developing responsible tourism in pioneering conservation areas, where tourism has little foothold and wildlife often is under threats, by making long-term commitments to allow these areas to thrive, thereby protecting biodiversity and supporting local economies.”
Bas Hochstenbach, Asilia’s Co-Founder and Commercial Director says: “With the support of Norfund we will be able to do more of what we are already doing, and we will be able to do it better: creating world-class safari experiences for our guests, providing jobs and development opportunities for our staff and their families, generating income for local communities and nature conservation organisations and protecting some of the most beautiful and ecologically important areas of Africa for generations to come. We look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation with Norfund.”
About Asilia Africa
Asilia is a leading upmarket nature travel operator with an iconic portfolio of 12 luxury camps and lodges in crucial natural habitats in Tanzania and Kenya, and employs close to 600 staff. Asilia offers top class safari experiences, as evidenced by TripAdvisor reviews, and is known for investing in underdeveloped yet crucial natural habitats and turning these areas into world class examples of lasting conservation economies, benefiting local people and wildlife alike. Asilia is a Certified B-Corp and was recognised by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as one of B-Corp’s “Best for the World” companies in 2013, honouring those companies that have the most overall social and environmental impact. Asilia is GIIRS rated and is the first Sustainable Safari/Lodge Company in Africa to have received a 5-star rating for its sustainability and impact performance.
Our goal is to make a true difference everywhere we work. We believe in better
Norfund – the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries – invests in the establishment and development of profitable and sustainable enterprises in developing countries. The aim is to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. Norfund is owned by the Norwegian Government and serves as a key instrument in Norwegian development policy. Norfund always invests with partners, Norwegian or foreign, the main sectors for investment being renewable energy, agribusiness and financial institutions. Eastern and Southern Africa are the most important regions, and Norfund has offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Maputo. Additionally, Norfund invests in selected countries in South and Southeast Asia and Central America with regional offices in San José and Bangkok. At mid-year 2013, Norfund had a portfolio of about USD 1.4 billion and around 55 employees.
CONTACT INFORMATION - ASILIA
Maarten Weehuizen (Business Development Manager)
Tel: +255 685 701 035
CONTACT INFORMATION - NORFUND
Heidi Berg (Press inquiries)
Tel: +47 99 70 10 61