Nomou Iraq Fund
Northern Iraq Investments
The (NIF) was launched in 2013 with the objective to build a strong SME sector to help rebuild the economic fabric of Iraq and create sustainable jobs for Iraqis. The Fund aims to support local content development to help rebuild an industrial economy damaged by war and embargoes and to create employment in a region where the fast-growing and predominantly young workforce have limited opportunities.
GroFin initially started its operations in Iraq in Basra, in the south of the country, where the Nomou Iraq Fund has built up a portfolio of SME clients.
Investors & Funders
During 2019, GroFin expanded its footprint in Iraq by establishing Northern Iraq Investments (NII) as a separate vehicle for investments in the Nineveh plains and other areas previously controlled by ISIS. As a result, the region has seen thousands of people displaced, major damage to infrastructure and a significant adverse impact on its economy. Based in Erbil, the new investment office is staffed by a new team and has already begun reaching out to the small business community in locations such as Mosul, Sinjar, Dohuk, and Hamdaniya. NII made its first investment in the north in the last quarter of 2019.
Iraq continues to be a very challenging location to operate in and the environment there is highly volatile from a political and social standpoint. During the second half of 2019, significant social unrest took place in southern Iraq, specifically in and around Basra and Baghdad. This disrupted several outreach activities. In addition, tensions between the United States and Iran also affected Iraq in the first quarter of 2020, impacting pipeline development and deal implementations, especially in the south.
Performance of the Iraq Funds
At end of 2019, total SME investments in Iraq (north and south) reached a total of US$ 7.5m in 12 SMEs, sustaining a total of 648 jobs, translating into 4,370 livelihoods sustained. GroFin staff in Iraq have provided business support to a total of 100 entrepreneurs, assisting them in setting up and formalising their businesses, as well as putting in place structures to implement their business plans in a sustainable manner. Gross assets under management stood at US$ 5.8m at the end of 2019.
Since inception, GroFin’s investments in Iraq have been supported by GroFin Capital and USAID with total commitments to date amounting to US$ 12.7m. During 2019, further commitments of US$ 17m were received that are earmarked to support operations and investment in both northern and southern Iraq.
The operational setup GroFin has put in place and the success achieved so far in driving investment in the SME sector in a challenging market continues to attract the attention and interest of development funders. The Nomou Iraq Fund is working closely with a major European development finance institution to catalyse further investment into the country. This will expand the Fund’s presence and significantly scale up its activities in the coming years.