The third window of the Challenge Fund titled “Linking remittances as a catalyst for financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment” will award matching grants to projects offering either an innovative business model or scaling-up of an existing business model for international remittance service delivery for women in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
The grant agreement between the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Amret Microfinance Cambodia was publicly signed on 14 October 2016, in the presence of a representative from the United Nations, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Amret management staff.
The grant agreement between the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank (LienVietPostBank) was publicly signed on 16 September 2016, in the presence of the State Bank of Vietnam, Vietnam Women’s Union, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
On August 26, 2016, the grant agreement between UNCDF and Banque Franco Lao Ltd. (BFL) was publicly signed in the presence of the Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. John Williams, of the UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Mr Murali, of representatives from the Bank of Lao PDR, and of the President of the Lao Businesswomen’s Association. The speakers saluted this incentivization of the private sector to further develop services specially designed for women micro-entrepreneurs, and to boldly expand them for greater developmental outcomes in their communities.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) regional programme Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) Challenge Fund Facility opens the second window. SHIFT seeks to advance economic empowerment and market participation for low-income consumers, microenterprises and SMEs, with a specific focus on women, by unlocking access to financial services.
The challenge fund instrument is designed to leverage the creative power and commercial instincts of financial service providers to overcome development challenges. The challenge fund, through the provision of competitively sourced matching grants, can overcome market failures that would otherwise prevent a grantee from making an initial investment, either from the cost of information discovery, costs of mitigating risks or simple lack of available funding.