In the first two years (2017-2018), UNCDF used the Last Mile Trust Fund (LMF-TF) funds to produce concrete results in the last mile: sales of clean energy products using PayGo systems; deployment of food security and nutrition projects alongside training for hundreds of government officials; gender assessments and challenge funds to address barriers to financial inclusion for women and youth; and investments to unlock public and private finance for local infrastructure projects. The Principality of Andorra and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) joined Sida as donors, and the LMF-TF began to reflect the founding vision we had for the fund.
In 2019, LMF-TF funding allowed UNCDF to continue achieving key development goals. We expanded clean energy access to poor and underserved communities; built the capacity of LDC local governments to access international climate funds to adapt to climate change; and demonstrated that investing in small-ticket, high-impact businesses in LDCs is both viable and profitable. The results we achieved— nearly 350,000 off-grid clean energy products sold; our local climate adaptation programme expanded to 280 local governments; 15 investments made in small and medium sized enterprises in LDCs; double-digit growth of digital financial services in six of our programme countries— are important, but not the whole story.
The results are evidence of UNCDF’s efforts, across all its work and its various funding streams, to create pilots and demonstration effects that build new markets, transform economies, and change financial systems to better reach underserved and vulnerable communities.