2021 Progress Report: Shuraako

2021 Program Progress Report
Somali women discussing business


One Earth Future’s Shuraako program is built on the premise that strengthening local businesses fuels greater economic growth and bolsters social welfare, which are both key to rebuilding the Somali region and fostering long-term stability and peace. Shuraako (which means “partnership” in Somali) connects investors with promising Somali businesses to encourage economic development and stability throughout the region. Shuraako’s work drives economic development, expands local markets for goods and services, creates jobs, and encourages investment and trade.

Program Incubation Progress


shuraako incubation stage



After years of trial and error in its attempt to connect Western financial institutions with credit-worthy businesses in the Somali region, Shuraako discovered a way to conduct due diligence using traditional governance structures. This approach enabled access to credit for entrepreneurs who previously were unable to grow their businesses or create jobs. Combined with a robust collections system, Shuraako has attained repayment rates of upwards of 96%, a notable achievement for the context.

Shuraako has been driven by innovation since its inception, finding different ways to facilitate loans and business development in the Somali region. In one of the world’s most challenging Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCS), Shuraako established the partnerships needed to launch two one-of-kind programs: The Nordic Horn of Africa Opportunities Fund (or Nordic Fund) and the Somali Credit Guarantee Scheme. 

One Earth Future’s innovation is evident in the fact that Shuraako’s Nordic Fund is the first structured impact investment fund in the Somali region deploying risk capital to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in Somaliland, Puntland, and South Central Somalia with Sharia-compliant loans and other self-liquidating structures. A particular focus with this historic initiative is on job creation and empowerment of female and youth entrepreneurs. 

The $26 million (to date) Nordic Fund is pioneering impact loans as a new development strategy in the Horn of Africa with diversified risk levels, including first-loss funding. Results from its investments in the Somali region indicate a significant economic shift through this investment model that moves away from the grant-based funding that has historically been seen in the region. 

By adding risk capital to the Somali region, fostering entrepreneurship, and creating jobs, the Nordic Fund supports a responsible private sector, creating a sustainable business environment and promoting prosperity and stability in the region.

Shuraako’s Low Collateral Murabaha Program, in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Somali banks, has been a critical fund in the region for providing access to capital for individuals, particularly youth and women, high-risk productive sectors like fishing and agriculture, and SMEs that would traditionally be passed over by banking institutions. Murabaha, also referred to as cost-plus financing, is an Islamic financing structure in which the seller and buyer agree to the cost and markup of an asset. The Low Collateral Murabaha Program provides essential investment to applicants who have the capacity for repayment, but often lack the ability to receive a loan due to limited collateral and other non-financial credit challenges.

The program substantially reduces economic barriers and opens the market to individuals who are often left out of traditional structures of funding, creating a balanced and less hierarchical path to economic growth and opportunity. This creates more jobs, stabilized economies, and a necessary entrepreneurial pipeline for those who are often overlooked by conventional investing. We know that peaceful communities thrive when opportunities exist for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or status, and the Low Collateral program facilitates this process.



2021 Media

Slideshow Slides
Woman working in ADCO factory
Entreprenuers in farm
Shuraako staff meeting
Women running her store
Somali women discussing business
Women meeting
Somali girls studying technology
Somali girls learning adobe

“We are proud to have played a key role in establishing this pioneering fund and impressed with the results that it has accomplished so far in building sustainable businesses that create much-needed jobs in the Somali region.

—Vegard Benterud, Investment Director, Norfund




2021 in Numbers

$10.5 million
capital contribution raised for the Nordic Horn of Africa Opportunities Fund, which is currently at $26 million
6.7 million
funds placed in 2021 compared to $2.6 million in 2020
net total permanent jobs, with 79 for women and 311 for youth
increase in loan settlements between 2020 and 2021 ($3.3 million and $6.3 million, respectively) from improved systems and processes


  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme was negotiated and extended with Sida for an additional year. Having completed the active guarantee issuance portion of the project, it is now under review for the potential to be expanded and significantly scaled. 
  • Shuraako worked with IFU and Danida to close the EU transaction and provide new technical assistance funding. The EU transaction will provide the financing for over 20 companies while also incentivizing (through the subordinated loss structure) other participating shareholders to invest in the fund. Through the technical assistance component, the deal will also assist Somali firms in minimizing the impacts of Covid on various parts of their operations.
  • When the EU transaction was about to collapse in 2020 (due to the sudden pull-out of the French development finance institution Proparco), IFU took a risk and backed OEF/Shuraako by taking Proparco’s place in the deal. This was an extremely complex structure to implement and a truly pioneering transaction for both the EU and IFU. IFU professionals took (and continue to take) substantial career risks by having entered into this innovative transaction to support the fund’s efforts to improve the livelihood of the Somali people. That is true dedication to the mission of impact.




 “The EU sees the great potential in Somalia’s dynamic private sector and its entrepreneurial spirit. Somali businesses stepped in at times when state capabilities to deliver public services were limited. A new and direct collaboration with Somali banks and an improved regulatory framework strengthening the formal economy will give an unprecedented boost to the private sector and the job market.” —Nicolás Berlanga Martinez, EU Ambassador to Somalia


We are thrilled that we can now also be catalytic in attracting additional partners that can finance further growth and increased impact.” —Vegard Benterud, Investment Director, Norfund


“To unlock access to finance for women and youth especially is much needed in order to stimulate entrepreneurship, to grow the MSME sector, and to create jobs, which in turn will increase self-sufficiency and equality and ultimately contribute to poverty reduction. These factors are also important prerequisites for long-term socio-economic development, stability, and peacebuilding in the country.” —Paula Kermfors, First Secretary at Sida, Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi