Irwin Grayson Associates
Review & evaluation

Financial Deepening Challenge Fund

Launched in 2000, the £18.5m Financial Deepening Challenge Fund (FDCF) built on recognition by the Department for International Development that the private sector could contribute to poverty alleviation and development. During its lifetime, the fund provided grants of £50,000-£1m to share risks with private sector firms in a competitive and transparent manner for projects which met clearly defined criteria reflecting DFID’s priorities to improve access to financial services. DFID hoped that the fund would help to change the behaviour of private companies – both those who received support and also others wanting to replicate the successes observed. Today, there is much talk of the corporates serving the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. In creating FDCF when it did, DFID showed commendable foresight.

In partnership with David Porteous, a US based consultant specialising in economic development and evaluation, I undertook the output to purpose review of the Financial Deepening Challenge Fund. Some of the recommendations have helped to inform the design of DFID's Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

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Review & evaluation