Status of initiative: N/a
Description/achievement of initiative

Although microfinance global outreach has increased tremendously over the past 30 years, an estimated 2.7 billion people around the world do not use formal financial services. About 56 percent of adults worldwide remain unbanked. Access to financial services underpins the ability of low-income people to achieve sustainable progress on their own terms. MicroLead, began in 2009 when UNCDF, in partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, initiated a flagship global microfinance programme to provide loans and grants on a competitive basis to microfinance institutions, commercial banks and financial cooperatives based in developing countries and pursuing a savings-based approach to expand operations to underserved markets. To date, MicroLead has awarded funding for 15 projects worth $22.5million to southern-based market leaders to enable their entrance into developing countries with savings-led methodologies. For Microlead, UNCDF partners with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation, and LIFT Myanmar. The total cost of the project is 58.6 million USD.

Implementation methodologies

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure


UNCDF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation, and LIFT Myanmar
Sustainable Development Goals and targets
Goal 17
Resources devoted to implementation
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
Date of completion:
Operating in countries
Contact information/focal point(s)

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