VENTURES AFRICA – Norway has revealed plans to sell all shares owned by its sovereign wealth fund – Norwegian Pension Fund Global – in oil firms with operations in Equatorial Guinea.
“We are looking into the oil companies in which we hold shares and which are active in Equatorial Guinea,” Reuters quoted Ola Mestad, the head of the fund’s ethics council, as saying.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund attributed its resolve to the fact that oil money from these companies failed to tackle abject poverty in the country.
The fund’s ethics council’s annual report states that the production of the country’s dominant natural resource seems to enrich only the country’s elite, leaving the conditions of the entire population in worst state in the world.
The fund has often excluded firms over what it thinks is unethical behaviour based on the recommendations of its ethics council, Reuters reported.
Mestad would not name the specific firms it had identified in the case of Equatorial Guinea. He also did not disclose how long the process could take.
According to report, the Norwegian Pension Fund Global was Exxon Mobil’s tenth-largest shareholder with an 0.81 percent stake, at the end of last year.
The fund also plans to sell these shares.
Norwegian Pension Fund Global invests the country’s oil and gas revenues for future generations. Its investments totaled $725 billion on Wednesday.