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SAARC fund to launch social enterprise programme in all eight member nations

Published on June 19, 2018
SAARC Development Fund, headquartered in the Bhutanese capital, Thimpu, soon will launch a social enterprise development programme (SEDP) to fund 80 entities annually across eight-member states, including India.

Countries comprising the SAARC are:

  1. India
  2. Nepal
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Bhutan
  6. Maldives
  7. Sri Lanka
  8. Pakistan 
Eight heads of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in April 2010 along its governing council comprising of the finance ministers of these eight countries, established the SAARC Development Fund (SDF).

Facts to know about the SDF:

  • SDF is in the process of launching the SEDP as part of its social window.
  • The programme will be implemented in all the SAARC member states with the objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using a mix of grants and concessional returnable capital.
  • The programme intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states annually.
  • SDF has already committed $73.74 million for social window projects as of date out of which it has disbursed $47 million to the member states.
  • Two energy infrastructure projects in the region have received in-principle approval with a loan commitment of $30 million under the SDF's infrastructure window.
  • SDF is currently implementing 12 regional projects with more than 70 implementing and lead implementing agencies covering all the member countries under the social window funding.
  • Acknowledging the important role of MSMEs in an economy, the SDF is planning to come out with a programme to provide line of credit to the sector across the member states.
  • The SDF would create access to financial services which can in-turn boost job creation, raise income, reduce vulnerability and increase investments in human capital in SAARC countries.
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