UNCDF Microlead Expansion request for Applications
  • January 10, 2012

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is launching a Request for Applications (RFA) for its MicroLead Expansion programme.  In support of UNCDF's commitment to financial inclusion, the MicroLead Expansion program seeks to support leading Financial Service Providers (FSPs)/Technical Service Providers (TSPs) with savings-led methodologies to expand their operations/services to new markets which are underserved in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Deadline to apply is 1 February 2012.  See the links below for the complete RFA in English and French.

UNCDF MicroLead Expansion RFA and annexes English  

UNCDF MicroLead Expansion RFA and annexes French  

In this new phase, funded by The MasterCard Foundation, experienced institutions or networks from developed and developing countries may apply to either establish greenfields or provide technical assistance that results in significant impact, particularly in the number of small-balance savers reached. With a view to strengthening the field, a learning agenda has also been added to enable UNCDF to test if a savings-led approach creates stronger and more resilient financial service providers.  

MicroLead began in 2009 as a flagship global microfinance programme to provide loans and grants on a competitive basis to microfinance institutions, commercial banks and financial cooperatives based in developing countries. All of the selected partners are committed to pursuing a savings-based approach, and are working towards the goal of becoming market leaders. To date the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/UNCDF-funded MicroLead programme has awarded funding for 13 projects worth $20.1 million to southern-based market leaders to enable their entrance into developing countries with savings-led methodologies. The MicroLead programmes's goal is to reach 525,000 new clients by 2013; based on awarded projects' projections and results to date, 850,000 new clients are expected to be reached by 2013. 

About UNCDF 

UNCDF is the UN's capital investment agency for the world's 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital. UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments – water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes – that will improve poor peoples' lives. UNCDF programmes help to empower women, and are designed to catalyze larger capital flows from the private sector, national governments and development partners, for maximum impact toward the Millennium Development Goals.                           

About The MasterCard Foundation  

The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.  An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company's initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit