United Nations Capital Development Fund

United Nations
Geographical focus: 
Thematic focus: 
Tourism in general
Employment, decent work and capacity building in Tourism
Social inclusion and Poverty reduction in Tourism
Intro text: 
The Fund promotes economic development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by providing access to financial instruments. Created by the General Assembly in 1966 to promote economic development. For the next twenty years UNCDF financed stand-alone capital infrastructure -- roads, bridges, irrigation schemes -- mostly in Africa. It received about $40 million in core funding per year and operated out of UNDP country offices.

Official website


Who can apply?

Organizations, private foundations and the private sector can partner up with the UNCDF in programmes and projects, by reaching out to UNCDF’s programme regions and countries.

Objectives and activities

Objective: “Assist developing countries in the development of their economies by supplementing existing sources of capital assistance by means of grants and loans”.

Main activities:

-        Inclusive Finance: develop inclusive financial systems and ensure that a range of financial products is available to all segments of society, at a reasonable cost, and on a sustainable basis.

-        Local Development Finance: ensure that people benefit from growth; this means dealing with specific local challenges, re-investing domestic resources back into local economies and services through inter-alia, fiscal decentralization, climate finance and project finance. Strengthening public financial management and local revenue, improving the quality of public and private investments and promoting innovations at the local level.

-        UNCDF and different themes: Food Security, Climate Change, Clean Energy, Digital Finance, South-South Cooperation, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Youth Empowerment

Type and level of funding

Total funding available now: roughly USD 60 million per year. UNDCF has a unique financial mandate, providing investment capital and technical support to both the public and private sector. The ability to provide capital financing-in the forms of grants, soft loans and credit enhancement- and the technical expertise in preparing portfolios of sustainable and resilient capacity building and infrastructure projects.

LCDs can have access to this funding through different platforms:

-        National governments.

-        UNDAF- United Nations Development Assistance Framework.

-        For the Inclusive Finance Programme, UNCDF’ counterpart is the central bank.

-        For the Local Development Finance Programme, UNCDF’s counterpart is usually the ministry of local government (or equivalent).

-        Calls- expressions of interest- by meeting requirements and specific criteria publicly announced.

-        UNCDF has a decentralized structure in which country programme offices are the primary point of programming decision-making and partnering with national counterparts, who have overall responsibility for administration of development processes and programmes.