1. What kinds of projects does MIF fund?
Using both grants and investments, MIF finances projects that promote private sector development, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises. Projects fall under under three Access Areas: Access to Finance, Access to Markets and Capabilities and Access to Basic Services.
Projects must be innovative and sustainable in the long term and have the potential to be replicated in other sectors or countries.
However, MIF doesn't directly provide technical assistance grants for private companies, projects in profit-making agriculture, such as new agricultural plantations and industrial investment, or in the governance sector.
2. What sorts of institutions does MIF fund?
MIF can provide resources to both public and private sector organizations. Generally, for grant financing, private sector institutions must be non-profit and can include non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry associations, chambers of commerce and foundations. Under certain circumstances grants are provided to for-profit organizations as well.
MIF investment resources typically fund private financial institutions, such as banks, cooperatives, microfinance institutions or NGOs, who can then onlend the resources to the benefit of micro and small businesses region wide. MIF investments have played a leading role in strengthening microfinance institutions across the region, also helping to transform over 50 NGOs into regulated depository institutions, thereby creating a growing asset base to support increased lending.
3. What if I don't know which of the three priority areas my project fits into?
If you're not sure that the objective of your project is under the area of Access to Finance; Access to Markets and Capabilities; or Access to Basic Services, then please take a look at the links below:
4. How do I know if my project idea has been done before?
You can search the projects database on our website to see if your idea has been used before.
5. How can I apply for funding?
After making sure that your idea fits with MIF priorities, visit the Financing Opportunities section for more details. If your idea applies to the MIF, please register and complete the Online Application.
6. Is there a deadline for applying?
There is no deadline for submitting project proposals.
7. What are MIF's minimum and maximum grant amounts?
MIF has financed from less than US$100,000–for small projects designed and administered by certain IDB/MIF country offices–to US$2 million for a project. On average, MIF grants are for $1.5 million.
8. Are more of MIF funds used for grants or investments?
About 70% of MIF resources go towards grants, with the rest for investment purposes.
9. How much does my institution have to contribute for counterpart financing?
For grant projects, each executing agency is responsible for counterpart contributions between 30% and 50% of the total amount of the proposed project, depending on the size and development state of the country the project's taking place in. For investment projects, contributions may vary by project, but co-investors are expected to share the financial risk by using their own resources.
10. What rules apply to counterpart financing?
- At least half of all local contributions must be in cash to cover project implementation and ongoing costs.
- The other half can be in-kind contributions, including the use of conference rooms or office space, use of equipment and time dedicated by executing agency staff for specific activities within the project.
- Fees paid for services offered by the project will not be counted as counterpart contributions, though executing agencies should consider service charges as a key way to ensure long-term project sustainability.
11. Can my institution get help from other organizations to meet counterpart financing requirements?
Yes. Executing agencies can get resources from a variety of sources including both national and international government agencies, NGOs, foundations and bilateral and multilateral entities.
12. Can we get funding from MIF and from another source simultaneously for the same project?
Yes. However, this information needs to be detailed in the application form.
13. Does MIF finance social projects focusing on areas like health or education?
No. While MIF recognizes the importance of these areas for development in the region, its resources are directed towards enhancing the private sector. These types of social projects are covered by IDB financing.
14. Does MIF finance infrastructure?
No, MIF does not finance any sort of physical infrastructure including construction or the purchase of property, houses, offices or durable equipment such as heavy machinery.
15. What project expenses can be covered by MIF financing?
MIF resources can be used to cover:
- Consulting services from firms, agencies, institutions, or individuals from MIF member countries
- Seminars and/or workshops
- Trainers, speakers or facilitators
- Development of training materials
- Purchase of licenses, software and minor computing equipment
While MIF can cover the purchase of minor equipment, such as photocopiers, laptops, computers, printers and scanners, these expenses should only represent a small percentage (30% or less) of the overall total project cost and be within the limits negotiated during the design phase and as stated in the agreement.
16. What project expenses cannot be covered by MIF financing?
MIF resources cannot be used to cover:
- Investments in physical infrastructure (construction, purchase of land/property or durable equipment such as heavy machinery)
- Direct credit to the executing agency
- Debt repayment
- Purchase of raw materials (agricultural and industrial)
- Purchase of motor vehicles
- Salaries of employees of the executing agency
- Consultants that assist in the design of the project are generally ineligible to be financed by MIF funds for project execution
- Overhead expenses, instead, these types of expenses can be recognized as part of the counterpart contribution
- Generally MIF/IDB resources are not to be used to cover any sales or import taxes associated with the purchase of goods or contracting of services, unless the Executing Agency is a non-profit, non-governmental organization
- In general, MIF resources cannot be used to cover any expenditure incurred prior to MIF Donor approval of the final project design document
17. Can MIF financing be used to cover the salaries of executing agency staff?
No. MIF funds cannot be used to pay recurring expenses, such as the salaries of executing agency staff.
18. Can consultants be hired to work on projects using MIF resources?
Yes. MIF resources can pay for outside consulting services from firms, agencies, institutions, or individuals from the 39 MIF member countries.
19. Can MIF financing be used for administrative expenses?
Yes. MIF can co-finance administrative expenses, such as the hiring of a project coordinator and project team. However, recurring administrative expenses, such as the salaries of executing agency staff, need to be paid with counterpart contributions.
20. How long does the application process take?
The identification and design of each MIF project is an individual process, with processing times varying between projects. To see how the application process works and estimated timeframes, please see the preparation stage of our project cycle.
21. If my project is approved by the MIF Donors Committee, how long until the first disbursement?
The average time between project approval by the Donors Committee and first disbursement is about six months.
22. How are MIF grants disbursed?
MIF grants are disbursed in stages, usually with the first amounting to 5-20% of the total grant amount. The following disbursements may vary, depending on how the project is progressing and if the counterpart contributions have been satisfied. Each project is assigned to an officer in the IDB/MIF country office who supervises the disbursements.
23. My institution is currently carrying out a project with MIF financing. If we have another project proposal, can we apply for MIF funding again?
Yes. However MIF does not finance continuation projects, but rather the project idea must be totally new, with different objectives. Also, to apply for funding again, the current project must demonstrate positive results.