UNCDF has been present in Senegal since 1981, promoting decentralization and increased access to financial services for low-income, rural populations.
Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
From 2008 to 2015, through Local Development Practice, UNCDF has implemented the Projet d’Appui au Développement Economique Local (PADEL), which is closely linked to the Programme National de Développement économique Local (PNDL). Both programmes enhanced donor and partner coordination to support social, cultural and economic development of Senegal's local authorities. In the Louga region the PADEL/PNDL programme provided support to national authorities, strengthening their capacities to unlock domestic capital for local investments, which was implemented in partnership with UNDP, Government of Senegal, Government of Luxembourg and UN-Women.
From 2008 to 2014, through Financial Inclusion Practice, UNCDF implemented the "Programme of Support to the letter of Sectoral Policy" (PALPS), which promoted increased access to low-income, small and medium enterprises to quality local financial services. The programme helped create sustainable, well-integrated financial services. PALPS made a significant input to rural areas by increasing the scope, mobilization of savings and the granting of credit. The programme was implemented in partnership with UNDP and the Government of Canada.
UNCDF is also implementing YouthStart, a global initiative designed to increase access to financial services for low-income youth, with emphasis on savings and financial education. In partnership with Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), YouthStart is testing a creation of franchise network in the form of kiosks; enabling young people with high potential, but limited prospects, to seize economic opportunities in Digital Financial Services (DFS) ecosystem, a booming sector in Senegal.
Senegal is also one of the nine countries where UNCDF implements its Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) programme in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to digital financial services (DFS) in a select group of Least Development Countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct blend of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust DFS ecosystem that reaches low-income people in LDCs.