UNDP awards $300,000 dollar grant to two financial institutions to develop innovative products for the informal sector.

October 12, 2023
A group photo  of participants after the grant signing ceremony

A group photo of participants after the signing of the agreement - UNDP Resident Representative ,Fred Ampiah ( in the middle) flagged by Mario Caivano, EU in Sierra Leone (to the right) and Emmanuel Konjoh , Ministry of Trade

UNDP Sierra Leone/Mohamed Kanu



UNDP awards $300,000  dollar grant  to Apex Bank and LAPO Microfinance to develop and pilot new financial products for the informal sector.


Freetown, October 12, 2023 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced the award of $300,000 operational support grants ($150,000 each) to Apex Bank and LAPO Microfinance as part of the EU-funded Informal Economy Project, “Supporting Informal Enterprises Transition Towards Sustainable Growth and Formalization in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Regions”. The project aims to develop and support the implementation of favourable regulatory conditions and relevant incentives for informal businesses to formalize and unlock their potential for inclusive economic growth.

The grants  awarded to Apex Bank and LAPO Microfinance as financial intermediaries are aimed at supporting them to  develop and pilot new innovative financial products  and services for  informal enterprises.

Speaking at the grant signing ceremony, the Resident Representative of UNDP, Mr. Fred Ampiah said, “UNDP supports the informal sector in Sierra Leone because it is a vital source of income and livelihood for many people, especially women and youth, who are challenged by access to finance . By helping the informal sector to become more productive, resilient, and integrated into the formal economy, UNDP is contributing  to  poverty reduction, inequality, and vulnerability in the country.”

According to the Mr. Mario Caivano , Team Leader, Economy & Social Sectors  from the Delegation of the European Union in Sierra Leone, the promotion of private sector development, economic growth and job creation has always been (and will remain) one of the top priorities of the EU interventions in Sierra Leone. We are well aware that access to credit constitutes one of the main challenges for MSME’s development. We consider the two proposals from APEX and LAPO as very interesting innovative solutions that should improve the access to financial services to informal enterprises in rural and remote areas”.


About the project

The Supporting Informal Enterprises Transition Towards Sustainable Growth and Formalization in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Regions project with funding from European Union is implemented in Mozambique, Sierra Leone,  and Solomon Islands by UNDP and International Labour Organization in partnership with the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).  The project  aims to support the   informal businesses in the three countries to grow, formalize, and access better services and opportunities.

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.


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