UNCDF in Liberia

UNCDF in Liberia

The Challenge

Liberia is Africa's oldest republic. In the 1990s it suffered a long-running, ruinous civil war and also become involved in a rebellion in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia's civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting. The conflict left the country in economic ruin and overrun with weapons. The capital remains without mains, electricity and running water. Corruption is rife and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic. In the 2013 Human Development Report, Liberia was ranked 174 out of 187 countries.

How We Are Helping?

UNCDF is helping Liberia to meet its development challenges through the Liberia Decentralization and Local Development (LDLD) programme, which aims to improve local service delivery and strengthen poverty reduction, while promoting the Liberian Government’s decentralization strategy. The programme is jointly supported by UNCDF, UNDP, the European Commission and the Government of Liberia.

UNCDF is also supporting the Government of Liberia in developing a financial sector that will provide sustainable access to a broad range of financial services for poor and low-income people and for small and micro enterprises. The first phase of this support, a programme called Launch of an Inclusive Financial sector in Liberia (2005-2009), provided the capacity building and capital assistance to financial services providers, the Central Bank and the others stakeholders to facilitate the launch of a competitive and sustainable inclusive financial sector. One of the main results achieved during the first phase was the formulation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion.

The second phase of the programme (2009-2013) aims to support the implementation of the national strategy through strategic intervention at the three sector levels: macro (policy), meso (industry infrastructure) and micro (retail levels). This programme is jointly supported by UNCDF, UNDP and DANIDA.

In Detail


Liberia Decentralization and Local Development (LDLD)

Goal To improve local service delivery, strengthen poverty reduction, and promote decentralization.
  • Supporting implementation of the Government’s decentralization strategy and legal framework;
  • Strengthening procedures and systems for effective public expenditure management;
  • Establishing a generic fiscal framework.
Period 2007-2012
Partners UNCDF, UNDP, EC, Government.
Total project cost and UNCDF contribution USD 9,000,000
USD 2,500,000

Launch of an Inclusive Financial Sector in Liberia Phase ll (LIFSL II)

Goal To improve access to financial services for low-income individuals.

Through strategic interventions at:

  • the micro level by building the capacities of the financial service providers, supporting financial innovation, improving women’s access to financial services in rural areas;
  • the meso level by supporting the microfinance network, building the capacities of the local technical services providers;
  • the macro level by improving the legal and regulatory framework, strengthening the capacities of the regulators and enhancing policy dialogue.
Period 2009-2013
Partners UNCDF, UNDP, DANIDA, Government.
Total project cost and UNCDF contribution USD 6,631,700
USD 1,500,000


Goal To increase access to financial services, particularly savings, by supporting the expansion of microfinance savings-led market leaders in underserved countries.
  • Offering grants and loans that incentivize leading providers to start up new, or strengthen existing financial institutions that target low-income people, especially with savings, in underserved areas, particularly countries struggling to recover from crisis and conflict;
  • Through a competitive process to select leading indigenous microfinance providers from developing countries to expand their reach by implementing a variety of approaches including greenfields, transformations of MFIs to formally regulated deposit-taking institutions, and providing technical assistance to in-country MFIs;
  • Supporting technical advisors who work to help those providers to develop the institutional capacity to extend their reach.
Period 2008-2017
Partners UNCDF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Mastercard Foundation, LIFT Myanmar.
Total project cost and UNCDF contribution USD 58,562,939
USD 7,871,850

Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P)

Goal To demonstrate how the correct mix of technical, financial, and policy support can assist in scaling up sustainable branchless and mobile financial services that reach the poor in very low-income countries.
  • Providing financial and technical support to service providers and financial service agents;
  • Supporting market and client research to develop products and services that reach low-income and rural households;
  • Bringing large scale users into the branchless and mobile financial services system;
  • Assisting central banks to create enabling environment for branchless and mobile financial services;
Period 2011-2017
Partners UNCDF, Sida, AusAID
Total project cost and UNCDF contribution 27,000,000

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