The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, in support of households, localities and small enterprises that are underserved, where development needs are greatest and where resources are scarcest.
What does UNCDF do?
UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and localized investments that show how fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development.
UNCDF financing models are applied in thematic areas where addressing barriers to finance at the local level can have a transformational effect for poor and excluded people and communities.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty with a focus on reaching the last mile and addressing exclusion and inequalities of access. At the same time, UNCDF deploys its capital finance mandate in line with SDG 17 on the means of implementation, to unlock public and private finance for the poor at the local level. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.
What makes UNCDF different?
UNCDF is a small, but focused organization, with a very clear job to do. With a capital mandate unique in the UN development system, UNCDF helps the Least Developed Countries get finance flowing to the people, places and small enterprises that are under- served and excluded. UNCDF is showing every day how small amounts of Official Development Assistance can help LDCs leverage public and private resources for maximum impact into the last mile.
UNCDF is innovative – it can help introduce new and innovative technologies, financing instruments, and partnerships to tackle entrenched inequalities and exclusion in LDCs;
UNCDF is catalytic - in the fast changing development finance landscape, UNCDF can support LDCs to use Official Development Assistance (ODA) to leverage other sources of finance. UNCDF’s innovative finance models and public-private partnerships can also help de-risk markets to encourage investment and boost sustainable development;
UNCDF promotes inclusion – UNCDF helps LDCs to build more inclusive and resilient communities and economies by helping them target sectors and regions on which other development finance institutions have yet to focus. This is critical for meeting the challenges of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.
How does UNCDF contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?
To achieve the SDGs, both the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda recognize the need for new financing and businesses models that mobilize resources from both the public and private sectors. This is what UNCDF does.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.
Where is UNCDF located?
UNCDF has its headquarters in New York City and works worldwide out of 3 Regional Offices, Dakar, Addis Ababa and Bangkok, and is present in 39 countries through its programmes and offices, most of which are co-located with UNDP.
Has UNCDF been assessed by external bodies?
At UNCDF, we believe in continuous assessment and improvement. Reviews by outside bodies help us to remain sharp and relevant, which, in turn, helps us to build partnerships and achieve wider impact. You can find more information in our In Focus section.
What is the history of UNCDF?
UNCDF was established by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 1966 with the mandate to “assist developing countries in the development of their economies by supplementing existing sources of capital assistance by means of grants and loans” (General Assembly Resolution 2186, 13 December 1966). The mandate was modified in 1973 to serve first and foremost but not exclusively the LDCs. As the world has changed since UNCDF’s founding in 1966, UNCDF’s expertise and programmes have evolved to keep pace with lessons learned and the needs of its programme countries. Yet, throughout, its guiding mission has remained the same: unlocking public and private finance to benefit poor people.
Does UNCDF have a document describing its activities and finances?
Yes, each year UNCDF publishes an Annual Report with details of its programmatic, managerial and financial performance.
Where can I find more information about UNCDF and its work in specific countries?
In the Where we work section of this website, you can find information on UNCDF’s programmes and activities in countries where UNCDF has ongoing operations. Additional country-specific information, including programme evaluations, can be found through the Evidence and Knowledge section.
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