The UNCDF Evaluation Unit commissioned a joint, independent and simultaneous Mid-term Evaluation (MTE or evaluation) of UNCDF’s MicroLead Fund (MicroLead or the Fund) and review of UNCDF’s Financial Inclusion Practice Area Global Portfolio (FIPA - Portfolio Review or PR).1 MicroLead was designed to provide technical assistance (TA) and capital supporting greenfields and existing FSPs focusing on savings services leadership in least developed countries (LDCs).
Greenfield investments include operational support grants to establish (primarily) Southern-based FSPs; existing FSPs received long-term technical assistance (LTTA), grants and/or loans. MicroLead also offered a post-conflict window to support FSPs in conflict-affected countries.2 Investments were operationalized via performance based agreements (PBAs) defining contractual performance targets and disbursement milestones.
MicroLead was expected to complement FIPA’s Country Sector Programmes (CSPs) and where appropriate have influence at the meso level (e.g., supporting sector association or diffusion of best practice information) and the macro level (e.g., influencing savings regulatory environments). The overarching goal of the fund is to contribute to FIPA’s inclusive finance objectives of contributing to Millennium Development Goal Number 1: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.