of national grants
from the Global
Fund to Fight
Economies in Mongolia
A pioneering UNDP microfinance programme, initiated in the early days
of Mongolia's shift towards democracy,
has transformed the lives of thousands
of Mongolians by creating economic opportunities, and helping to insulate
them from uncertainties in a competitive
During the 1990s, Mongolia began its transformation from a centrally planned economy under the Soviet Union to a market-driven one. Market liberalization, currency reform, financial-sector restructuring and administrative decentralization opened up new possibilities for small and medium-sized industries.
While the country's economic growth accelerated impressively, not everyone benefited from the robust changes. Those living below the poverty line and families outside the city centres often got left behind.
To extend some of the benefits of the new economic liberalization to less-advantaged communities, the Government embarked on an experimental pilot programme in microfinance with the support of UNDP and its global MicroStart programme.
In partnership with the Government and several NGOs, UNDP provided an initial grant of $1 million to pave the way for the country's early microfinance programme. MicroStart officially registered in 1999 in Mongolia and over the next several years the regulatory framework for microcredit in the country took shape. Subsequently, the Asian Development Bank, Mercy Corporation and other donor agencies became involved.
By 2001, the initiative had evolved into XacBank, an independent commercial bank operating on a market basis. From the start, microfinance, including financial services like credit, insurance, transfers and — most importantly — savings, were targeted towards low-income people. Access to credit services expanded across Mongolia's rural areas, and continues to do so today with the use of mobile banking services.
Today, XacBank is a self-sustaining and profitable enterprise with nearly 85,000 loans. Its collaboration with UNDP evolved and remained concentrated on helping the poor. From 2006 to 2008, XacBank became a partner financial institution in providing loans at a special rate to UNDP-assisted small entrepreneurs. In 2010, XacBank developed a separate eco-products programme, which offers low-interest loans for energy-related products for low-income clients. These new programmes illustrate the dynamism of the bank, and its ability and willingness to develop new areas in line with client and national needs.
UNDP assisted the Government
of Jamaica in debt-conversion
negotiations in 2010.
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UNDP supported the development of Ethiopia's first commodities exchange, an innovative collaboration of public and private entities that has modernized agricultural marketing by connecting farmers, traders, buyers and exporters to a one-stop exchange market where they meet face to face. An estimated 850,000 farmers — roughly 12 percent of the national total — are now benefiting from the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. January 2011 marked its thousandth day of operation, with over one billion dollars worth of commodities traded. Today the Exchange has 450 members, 5,400 clients and oversees an average of 14,527 trades each day.
As of December 2010 a UNDP-supported project in Syria on women's empowerment and poverty alleviation has been part of a national programme that fosters the improvement of women's lives through a wide range of social and economic opportunities. Implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, in cooperation with UNDP, the project provides a combination of small enterprise support for women, along with life skills training to better take care of their households and children. UNDP also worked with local authorities to encourage male family members to grant inheritance rights to women, enabling women to leverage property rights for access to microloans.
By the end of 2010, the project targeted more than 70 villages, particularly in disadvantaged areas in the north-eastern region, and had dispersed funding to more than 230 income-generating projects. Training was offered to 3,145 women and 40 literacy courses were conducted. The League of Arab States highlighted the initiative as a model for the region.
Armenia who have benefited
from UNDP local development
programmes targeting water,
sanitation, electricity, gas, job
creation, microfinance and
entrepreneurs UNDP trained
Additionally, in each community where UNDP initiates projects, citizen groups work with municipal staff to identify and set budget priorities. Draft budgets are then distributed to everyone and public hearings are organized for debate and discussion, ensuring broad-reaching participation.
As a result, the Ministry of Health was able to produce standard operating procedures to guarantee quality care and treatment for patients. It now has a computerized accounting system and follows standard financial and auditing procedures. Through UNDP support, the National Drug Service now procures and provides HIV and AIDS drugs worth more than $2 million, almost four times greater than prior to the programme. By the end of 2010, more than 150,000 people received counselling and treatment for HIV and AIDS at 114 new centres, tens of thousands of pregnant women were tested for HIV and the Ministry of Health now directly receives and manages its Global Fund money.