United Nations Capital Development Fund
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries. It creates new opportunities for poor people and their communities by increasing access to microfinance and investment capital.
UNCDF focuses on Africa and the poorest countries of Asia, with a special commitment to countries emerging from conflict or crisis. It provides seed capital – grants and loans – and technical support to help microfinance institutions reach more poor households and small businesses, and local governments finance the capital investments, such as water systems, feeder roads, schools, irrigation schemes, that will improve poor people's lives.
UNCDF works to enlarge people's choices: it believes that poor people and communities should take decisions about their own development. Its programmes help to empower women – over 50% of the clients of UNCDF-supported microfinance institutions are women – and its expertise in microfinance and local development is shaping new responses to food insecurity, climate change and other challenges. All UNCDF support is provided via national systems, in accordance with the Paris Principles. UNCDF works in challenging environments, such as remote rural areas, countries emerging from conflict, and paves the way for others to follow. Its programmes are designed to catalyze larger investment flows from the private sector, development partners and national governments, for significant impact on the Millennium Development Goals, especially Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger, Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women, and Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability. UNCDF is supporting global programmes like Better Than Cash Alliance.
Established by the General Assembly in 1966 and with headquarters in New York, UNCDF is an autonomous UN organization affiliated with UNDP.