In Focus

Investing in UNCDF

UNCDF’s four window funding architecture provides maximum flexibility for contributing partners and is designed to allow robust and scaled-up programming in up to 40 LDCs.

Window 1: CORE

Core resources remain the bedrock of UNCDF funding. They allow UNCDF to plan for strategic, integrated country presence in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and bring a range of tools to help governments achieve their Agenda 2030 Commitments.

  • They allow UNCDF to pilot and test innovative new models. UNCDF’s current core funding seeds the innovations that will be the flagship programs of the future.
  • They fund the organizational backbone of UNCDF, help ensure the highest standards of transparency and accountability, enable rigorous monitoring and evaluation, assure retention of high-quality staff with deep technical expertise, and provide seed capital for our programs.
  • They also UNCDF to maintain an on-going country level presence for the required duration of our maturity model. Our experience has shown that we need, on average, 12 to 18 months to develop a new programme, secure government and other stakeholder support, establish the multi-stakeholder partnerships needed to keep the programme running.

The target in UNCDF’s Strategic Framework for 2014-2017 is $25 million annually to ensure programme operations in 40 LDCs and support UNCDF’s work to leverage official development assistance (ODA) to secure additional public and private resources for investment.


Contributions to the Last Mile Finance Trust Fund Flexible provide the most flexible non-core resources enabling UNCDF to allocate based on its strategic priorities.

  • Through the Last Mile Finance Trust Fund, donors can access a range of UNCDF interventions, expertise, and country-level presence through a common programming and oversight framework more efficiently than through support to individual programmes.
  • Contributions to the Trust Fund incur significantly reduced transaction and monitoring costs, as the Fund uses common program documents and consolidated annual results reporting for all its donors.
  • The common results reporting also ensures that lessons learned are shared and disseminated among development actors.


  • Earmarked non-core funding is currently the largest source of UNCDF’s annual income.
  • It is funding directed by donors to specific country, region, or thematic programmes.
  • For example, earmarked non-core is used for the regional programmes such as the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) or country-specific programmes such as expanding the use of mobile money in Tanzania.


  • The LDC Investment Platform– through grants, reimbursable grants, loans, and guarantees – provides seed funding to investments in LDCS that are deemed too small or too risky by traditional investors. This works to de-risk and “prime the pump” for domestic and foreign investors to participate in local initiatives.
  • This platform allows the greatest flexibility for UNCDF to apply the optimal funding instrument for each business need, and to crowd in domestic and international investment.
  • The primary development objective is to increase the number and sustainability of new and existing financially viable, innovative development initiatives, through UNCDF programmes and projects.
  • It encourages public and private investors to supply investment financing for the consolidation and scale-up of economic initiatives with a proven development impact.

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