UNCDF makes finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries, offering last mile finance models that unlock public and private resources—working through three channels: inclusive digital economies, local development finance, and investment finance.
Meaningful digital financial inclusion provides outlets for low-income accountholders to engage in the economy to meet their daily needs; and to improve their skills, productivity and marketability in the digital-economy age. By building inclusive digital economies through a market development approach, communities will be able to use digital services in their daily lives and contribute to the SDGs.
Strengthening municipal finance enables local governments to improve service delivery and investments that increase the resilience and sustainability of local economies. UNCDF strengthens local government finance systems to demonstrate the effectiveness of decentralized financing for climate adaptation, women’s economic empowerment, food security, health and local economic development.
With a growing loan and guarantee portfolio, UNCDF demonstrates to the financial architecture, domestically and internationally, that investing in last mile settings is not only good for development but also commercially viable. UNCDF does this by deploying catalytic capital and technical assistance to de-risk and prepare small businesses and investment projects to attract commercial finance.
Women’s economic empowerment cuts across all of UNCDF’s work--from boosting women’s access to digital financial services; to making entrepreneurship work for women, to enabling greater economic agency for women’s participation in local economies.
UNCDF responded quickly to address some of the impacts of COVID-19. UNCDF partnered with UNDP, Switzerland and the UK on the global Call to Action on Remittances; supported digital solutions, including accelerated digital payments in 20 countries; developed guidance to local governments for emergency grant finance; and explored the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs in LDCs.
As a nimble technical agency, UNCDF relies on innovative collaborations with impactful partners. UNCDF collaborates with national and local governments, the private sector, and the wider UN system; notably UNDP, our most important partner. UNCDF also hosted and supported several innovative multi-stakeholder initiatives to support SDG achievement in LDCs.
In the coming year, UNCDF will continue to pursue its central goals under its existing Strategic Framework and scale up its various innovative last-mile financing models; all with the aim of supporting local economies in LDCs to rebuild better from the COVID-19 crisis, and to regain momentum in achieving the SDGs
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