UNCDF has been present in Ethiopia since 1982, executing local development and financial inclusion programmes to provide financial services and endorse economic activities at the local level.
Today, UNCDF offers catalytic finance models that unlock public and private resources in “last mile” environments, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
Through UNCDF's Least Developed Country Investment Platform (LDC-IP), we are working on capitalizing the "missing middle" for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), financial service providers and local infrastructure projects. The LDC-IP's main vehicle for support in Ethiopia is the BRIDGE Facility, UNCDF's on-balance sheet portfolio. As of 2020, investments in Ethiopia via the BRIDGE Facility portfolio accounted for 7% of the total portfolio.
UNCDF’s Inclusive Digital Economies Clean Energy (IDE Energy) programme supported the establishment of a credit risk guarantee facility in Ethiopia; in partnership with UNDP, the Development Bank of Ethiopia, and the Ministry of Water and Energy of Ethiopia. The credit guarantee enabled 20 energy MSMEs to access USD 1.2 million in loan from financial institutions. The total sale of clean energy technologies since the start of the credit risk facility has exceeded 500,000 products, which includes clean cooking technologies and solar energy products.
IDE Energy also provided performance-based grant to two companies to scale-up adoption of solar PAYGO in rural Ethiopia. At the end of 2022, the two companies target to sell 3,000 PAYGO solar products and impact 15,000 people in off-grid areas.
Additionally, in the Inclusive Digital Economies area, UNCDF is supporting Ethiopia through the Digital Financial Services for Resilience (DFS4Res) initiative with the EU and the Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States to unlock the potential of digital finance. The aim of this initiative is to support key policy reforms for digital transformation and create digital financial services tailored to the needs of women and youth, including innovative savings and credit products.
Through UNCDF's Migration and Remittances programme, we have partnered with Lion International Bank and Belcash Technologies to improve the flow of remittance through digital platforms. The service offers two main use cases send to me and pay for me to the migrants and their beneficiaries. This enables migrants to send remittances or make utility payments through the mamapays platform. The service offers other value-added services such as Hello Doctor, Hello Solar, airtime top up etc.
Finally, through UNCDF's Policy Accelerator, we are working with the National Bank of Ethiopia on licensing under the Payment Instrument Issuers Directives, reforming the legal and regulatory landscape to accelerate financial inclusion. Previously, Policy Accelerator provided technical assistance on the delivery of Ethiopia’s National Digital Payments Strategy.