New Fund to Support Pro-Poor Projects

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Nov. 11 – Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asian Development Bank have launched a new fund that will help support projects directly beneficial to the poor.

The Vietnam Challenge Fund is backed by a US$3 million budget that can support grants worth US$30,000 to US$250,000. The fund may shoulder as much as 49 percent of a project’s total investment cost.

“Challenge funds first originated in the United Kingdom, but have since been implemented by DFID and others across a number of regions worldwide, and have proven to be an efficient development tool,” Fiona Lappin, the head of DFID, said in a statement.

She adds the grants will absorb “some of the business risks associated with innovative projects that aim to increase employment and incomes for the poor.”

In an emerging economy such as Vietnam, marginally disadvantaged populations living in rural areas have less opportunities to contribute to the economy’s growth. This fund then aims to give the poor easier market access as a way of empowering them to improve their lives instead of just directly giving funds.