MEDIA ADVISORY: UNCDF at the Financing for Development Conference


In the context of Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-16 July 2015, UNCDF and the Governments of Benin and Ethiopia are organizing a high-level side event on the topic “Expanding the Frontier: Mobilizing local and inclusive finance for development”.


WHAT: The emerging post-2015 development agenda has a very strong focus on inclusive and sustainable development, which are crucial components to reduce poverty and ensure economic growth while preserving the planet for future generations. Existing and new forms of development finance will need to be marshalled and made to work together seamlessly to achieve this agenda.

The financial requirements for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to meet the goals of the Istanbul Programme of Action are enormous. ODA can be the largest source of external finance in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries. LDCs can face major constraints in mobilizing other resources for development - both private and public, foreign and domestic - and in channeling them into social and economic infrastructure and productive investments, particularly at the local level.

Using ODA in catalytic and smart ways to leverage public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, can contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth. This has particular resonance when it comes to supporting local authorities, communities, businesses, and regions in LDCs, where barriers to inclusive growth outside capital cities include high levels of unbanked and excluded populations; low levels of infrastructure investment; and dormant and unproductive capital.

By reducing vulnerability to economic shocks and boosting job creation, financial inclusion can support poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth, and shore up the reliability and stability of national financial systems. Strengthening financial institutions can help mobilize domestic savings and incentivize the domestic financial sector to increase lending to the MSME “missing middle”.

At the same time, using seed funding and leveraging ODA to connect local authorities and communities to sustainable sources of finance helps expand local fiscal space, and builds up the local infrastructure needed to stimulate local economies, adapt to climate change, provide access to essential services, and generate employment. 

The objectives of the event are two-fold:

  1. To identify concrete models of using ODA to mobilize domestic resources that promote local and inclusive finance; and
  2. To identify specific actions to scale up those models. 

The event will explore how ODA is a critical stage-setter to leverage additional funds and to support the mobilization of domestic savings and capital for local investment, so as to promote inclusive growth outside capital cities. This will include a focus on de-risking the local investment space and proving concept to tap into the economic potential of often overlooked population groups, enterprises and localities.

In particular, the event will call on development partners to commit to three key actions with proven acceleration potential for inclusive and resilient local economic development:

  • Localize a critical volume of public and private investment for secondary and tertiary infrastructure development, to help stimulate local economies, and provide expanded access to essential services and opportunities for better jobs;
  • Establish flexible capital vehicles for local investment which can serve as last-mile investors to de-risk the local investment climate and lay the groundwork for other investors and stakeholders – both public and private - to enter with confidence; and
  • Accelerate investment in financial inclusion, including through digital pathways, in order to support poverty reduction and women’s economic empowerment, and expand employment through small and medium enterprises, especially for young people.

WHEN: 14 July 2015, 10:00-11.30 am

WHERE: Elilly Hotel, Conference Room “Mars”, Addis Ababa

WHO: The event will adopt a Davos-style format in which panelists will actively engage with the audience. Panel speakers include:

  • H.E. Mr. Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations and Global Coordinator of the LDC Group;
  • Ato Getahun Nana, Vice Governor, Financial Stability Cluster, National Bank of Ethiopia;
  • Mr. Denis Bandisa, Director of Governance and Service Delivery, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Governments, Government of Tanzania;
  • Mr. Walt M. Macnee, Vice Chairman, MasterCard Worldwide;
  • Ms. Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, UNCDF;
  • Mr. Mercus Chigoga, Head of Personal Banking, NBS Bank, Malawi;
  • Mr. Patrick Walsh, Director for the Global Partners Department, European Investment Bank;
  • Ms. Anna Ryott, Managing Director, Swedfund (tbc).

Moderated by: Ms. Nicola Harrington, Deputy Director, OECD Development Centre.