On June 8, UNCDF launched its Illustrated Annual Report “Paving the Way for Post-2015: Unlocking Public and Private Finance Solutions”. This annual report showcases the progress and potential of UNCDF. It spotlights the results on what – based on UNCDF’s experience – are three powerful and effective ways to maximize resources for the post-2015 agenda: using ‘smart’ ODA as a critical ingredient for domestic resource mobilization; investing in financial inclusion, facilitated by digital finance, as a key driver for individual and household engagement in the local economy; and localizing the flows of public and private finance and investment in infrastructure, which has proven acceleration, empowerment, and de-risking effects for local economic development.
2014, the first year of implementation of the UNCDF Strategic Framework 2014-2017, saw UNCDF building on its capital mandate to support the LDCs in their pursuit of inclusive growth. By focusing in its two main areas of expertise, Local Development Finance and Inclusive Finance, UNCDF worked in 31 countries to eliminate barriers of access by the poor to adequate and adapted financial, social and infrastructure services and to unleash productive capacities. UNCDF successfully worked with all its partners to support LDCs in scaling up innovative finance mechanisms that increase investment and leverage untapped potential. It applied its approaches and instruments to support national development plans for making finance more local, accessible, and inclusive, and made important steps to prove concept so as to pave the way for scaling up and replication.
Highlights from the Annual Report include:
Working on Climate Finance, UNCDF’s LoCAL programme provided $1.2 million in grants to 29 local governments, reaching over 4 million people in 7 LDCs in Asia and Africa.
Women’s Economic Empowerment is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. UNCDF engages through its two core areas of Local Development Finance and Financial Inclusion by making gender-sensitive investments and providing access to financial resources for women.
Almost 900 million people around the world suffer from food insecurity. By strengthening local capacities for integrating food security concerns into local planning and budgeting, and providing the related financial instruments, UNCDF creates a more sustainable environment for dealing with food security at the local level.
In sub-Saharan Africa only 5 percent of young people have access to financial services. Lack of access to is a major constraint for youth transitioning from school to work. As of December 2014, YouthStart FSP partners granted access to savings accounts to almost 515,000 young people, trained over 500,000 youth in financial education, and provided loans to almost 72,000 young entrepreneurs.
Clean energy access is a major constraint for the world’s poor. The CleanStart programme supports low-income consumers to transition to cleaner energy through microfinance, helping to lift at least 2.5 million people out of energy poverty by 2017.
In the post-2015 context, the digitization of payments can result not only in greater efficiency, but also in significant cost savings and enhanced transparency to reduce leakages. During the Ebola crisis The Better Than Cash Alliance and MM4P, together with UNDP set up the payment of Ebola Response Workers’ programme to ensure the reliable delivery of payments. Today, across the three affected countries, 95-100 percent of registered Ebola workers, approximately 38,000 people, are linked these payment mechanisms.
South-South cooperation continues to grow rapidly, more than doubling between 2006 and 2011. MicroLead is recognized as an innovative approach to South-South cooperation for developing Inclusive Financial sectors. For example, southern #microfinance market leaders supported by MicroLead brought in – $100M as own equity to fund their expansion in LDCs.