UNCDF has been present in Senegal since 1981, promoting decentralization and increased access to financial services for low-income, rural populations.
Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
A critical means of engagement in Senegal for UNCDF involves the WE! Fund. The WE! Fund is a financial mechanism using equity and shareholder loans to invest in gender sensitive SMEs and PPPs in the “missing middle”. The WE! Fund was incorporated in November 2019 as a joint initiative from UNCDF and FONSIS to foster women economic empowerment in Senegal, especially in secondary cities. The WE! Fund seeks to be fully aligned with the ‘Plan Sénégal Emergent’ and have a significant contribution on SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). From its current 10 M USD pipeline, the WE! Fund made its first investment in May 2021 in Mburu, an innovative bread manufacturing and retail chain which is makes bread and pastry from local cereals and fruits.
Through our new initiative IncluCity – Inclusive Cities programme, which is in pilot phase in Senegal, Bangladesh and Uganda, our goal is to transform cities into spaces of equal economic opportunities and social services for everyone by targeting those who are vulnerable and marginalized (slum dwellers, ultra-poor, minorities, informal workers, migrants, women/girls, disabled). We are focusing on promoting Investments in key public infrastructure including transport, housing, water and sanitation and economic opportunities in slum areas using blended financing model.
The Youth to Finance for Employment program in Senegal, part of a €18 million joint action with Enabel, aims to develop the rural economy in the Groundnut Basin of Senegal by helping create sustainable jobs, with particular attention to young people and women. UNCDF has teamed up on the program with Baobab Senegal, a local microfinance institution, to provide access to financial and non-financial services such as financial education to youth. UNCDF has also provided technical and financial support to Baobab to help them develop and scale new and innovative financial products. (2018 – 2021, €1.25 million).
Senegal is currently in the design and scoping phase for the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL). The LoCAL Facility of the UN Capital Development Fund serves as a mechanism to integrate climate change adaptation into local governments’ planning and budgeting systems, increase awareness of and response to climate change at the local level, and increase the amount of finance available to local governments for climate change adaptation.