SAARC Development Fund to launch Social Enterprise Development Programme

SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is going to launch social enterprise development programme (SEDP) as part of its social window. The programme will be implemented in all SAARC member states with objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using mix of grants and concessional returnable capital. It intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC member states (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) annually.

SDF was created as umbrella financial mechanism for all SAARC developmental projects and programmes. Its core objectives are to promote welfare of the people of SAARC region, improve their quality of life and accelerate economic growth, social progress and poverty alleviation in the region. It funds projects in South Asia region via three windows viz. Social Window, Economic Window and Infrastructure Window. At present, only Social Window is in operation, the other two windows are yet to open.

SDF was established by heads of all eight SAARC member states during 16th SAARC summit at Thimphu, Bhutan in April 2010. Its Governing Council comprises finance ministers of these eight countries. It is successor of South Asian Development Fund (SADF), which was launched in 1996 by merging two existing facilities called SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) and SAARC Regional Fund.

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