Transformative Impact Financing (TIF), is an innovative approach to capital development finance that utilizes UNCDF’s local development finance core approach and financing instruments to unlock domestic capital for local economic development and entrepreneurship, with a special emphasis on the development impact as a measure for success.

Fostering the full participation of women in a Local Economic Development process (LED) in the LDCs will require overcoming entrenched discriminatory attitudes, norms and stereotypes as well as challenging existing inequitable historical social and economic structures. The IELD approach will serve to strengthen women’s participation in the private sector and better integrate their needs in terms of public provisioning that specifically reduce unpaid work. It will provide public and private sector business development services. This includes extension services; access to resources and markets; association and network-building to strengthen their influence. It will use innovative finance mechanisms and instruments to mobilize resources for the implementation of gender-responsive local economic development. Only then can gender equality and women’s contributions through their full and remunerated economic participation be realized.

Local Development Fund (LDF financing tool) are fiscal transfers provided to local governments for investment purposes. LDFs can be fully discretionary or can be ring fenced for specific activities. The use of Minimum Conditions/Performance Measurement funding systems provides strong tools for improving local government performance while encouraging compliance with regulations, identifying capacity gaps in different functional areas, and strengthening general monitoring and evaluation systems through annual assessments.

The Local Investment Finance Facility (LIFE) is a local development finance approach that provides seed capital and targeted technical interventions to unlock the flow of domestic capital investment in small and medium-sized projects required to accelerate local development. It is designed to advance local development at both national and local levels. It seeks to activate the private sector and critical government functions to support the identification, development, and finance of projects representing ‘productive systems’, such as agro-processing, public service delivery infrastructure, clean energy and climate and other industrial investments:

  • Structured Project Finance: These financing instruments provide structured nonrecourse financing solutions, in the form of collateral guarantees, for development projects as part of local development programmes. The aim is to unblock sources of local domestic finance for small and medium infrastructure projects by reducing private sector risk for selective, strategic and catalytic local economic development projects. These include industrial infrastructure projects such as energy projects, transport, warehouses, and food processing plants.
  • SME Cluster Finance: Designed to support local economic development by grouping their existing and potential enterprises into clusters with connected value chains, labor market requirements and other linkages. This enables economies of scale and the unlocking of domestic capital for the enterprises within the targeted cluster. This enables the addition and retention of value within the local economy, the diversification of the labor market and the stimulation of complementary activity such as legal and accounting services.


The Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative (GEPMI) is a comprehensive capacity development and policy advisory services programme, launched with the overarching mission of poverty reduction. GEPMI’s specific objectives towards this mission focus on promoting gender-responsive economic policies and poverty reduction strategies that deliver results equitably to women and men, girls and boys.

This programme was designed by UNDP in order to respond to the urgent need to incorporate gender perspectives into national development frameworks. Delivering in close collaboration with UN Women, this initiative has currently 2 components:

  1. A three-week course on Gender-Responsive Economic Policy Management, and
  2. GEPMI-Tailored Country level advisory services and capacity development workshops.

GEPMI’s short course modules will be incorporated in the IELD and further tailored for immediate and specific capacity development and policy advisory support both at local and national levels to meet a country’s particular needs.

A team of highly qualified regional experts, whose quality is assured by UNDP and UN Women, is available to provide these services on request.

Empower Women (EW) will provide a dynamic and innovative knowledge management and community-building platform for the Inclusive and Equitable Local Economic Development (IELD) programme. This dedicated platform will be created on to:

  1. Connect all programme stakeholders;
  2. Provide learning and capacity building material; and
  3. Showcase the programme activities, events and opportunities, lessons learned, results and outcomes.

The IELD partners and stakeholders can use the IELD platform to enable programme beneficiaries and entrepreneurs to access from iLearn: (i) online training courses on business-related topics, e.g. how to start and grow a business, marketing, finance, and negotiations; and (ii) showcase their stories ‘behind the business plan’, including how the IELD programme has contributed to their economic empowerment.

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