UNCDF has been present in Ghana since 2015, improving the accessibility of financial services for low-income population in urban and rural areas. Building local governments resilience to climate change and strengthening their fiscal space to deliver services.
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.
UNCDF implemented the MicroLead programme (2015-2018) A global initiative that works with a variety of financial institutions and aims to develop, pilot and scale, deposit services for low-income, rural populations. Particularly for women. In Ghana, MicroLead worked with Fidelity Bank, GN Bank and Sinapa Savings and Loans, to expand access to savings. Particularly to link informal savings groups to banks, and other formal financial institutions. UNCDF supported Fidelity Bank and GN Bank, to link Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), created by CARE to the bank, through a combination of agents and mobile banking. Thanks to this support, now VSLA members can access their savings via digital means. UNCDF also supported Sinapa Savings and Loans to transform from a microfinance institution, to a savings and loans institution. Also digitizing their savings collection processes.
UNCDF is currently implementing its Local Climate Adaptive Living (LoCAL) facility, designed to help governments channel global climate adaptation financing to the local level. The overall objective of LoCAL Ghana is to improve the resilience of MMDAs and communities to climate change, by increasing access to climate change adaptation financing, through performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRG).
During the first cycle of phase I, thirteen (13) small to medium scale climate resilient investments were selected and implemented in various communities, in the 3 pilot districts in 2016. Transfer of additional funds to the districts will take place in the 1st quarter of 2020 to commence investments of the second cycle of Phase I.
Since 2018, LoCAL has sought to further highlight and bridge climate resilience with socioeconomic developmental needs at the local level, by establishing, for instance, targets in terms of local job creation, particularly in the green economy. Accordingly, a portion of the PBCRGs are to be implemented by local government authorities through cash-for-work (CfW) programmes. Targeting particularly youth and women, or through procurement to local Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This would ensure that jobs are created in the short to medium term, while promoting resilient local economies and communities. This second generation of the LoCAL mechanism is currently being piloted in Ghana.
Building on this past experience and technical capacity to unlock both private and public capital, UNCDF, in partnership with SNV (a Netherlands development agency) has secured funding from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF), for Africa to implement the “Boosting green employment and enterprise opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn)”.
The programme will contribute to addressing the root causes of irregular migration, through green and climate resilient local economic development, as well as improving the prospects of beneficiaries, by increasing access to finance of returnees, youth and women, in selected regions (Ashanti and Western).
GrEEN will channel finance through performance-based grants to selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana. In close collaboration with communities, it will help them develop and implement green and climate resilient local investments, that foster employability for returnees, youth and women, through cash for work and procurement to local SMEs. Simultaneously, the programme will provide skill development support to cash for work beneficiaries of the targeted MMDAs, while also promoting access to finance for returnees, youth, women and MSMEs. The access to finance component will leverage remittances for community development and private investment.
UNCDF is engaging with Cities Alliance on a joint program called Local Economic Acceleration through Partnerships (LAP). The LAP partnership is targeting two cities in Ghana namely- Cape Coast Metropolitan and Agona West Municipal Assemblies. The program will; (i) identify major drivers of revenues and expenditures at the city level including borrowing capacities with the objective of improved understanding of challenges and potential areas of opportunities in improving leverage (Debt Strategy and Auditors Report) and (ii) set up a facilitated dialogue with domestic and international private sector representatives at the city level on investment requirements and opportunities.