Lives and Livelihoods Fund

Who We Are

On September 29th 2016, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and development cooperation partners launched a US$2.5 billion Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) with a joint vision to raise the poorest out of poverty in IsDB member countries. The LLF is the largest development initiative of its kind in the Middle East and serves 33 IsDB member countries. 

The LLF donor partners working with the IsDB on this innovative initiative are:

  • Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) 
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
  • Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD)
  • King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) 
  • Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)

The IsDB is the LLF’s trustee and manages the LLF Projects as per the Charter in accordance with the IsDB’s project cycle, after their approval by the LLF’s Impact Committee (the fund’s Board with representation from all partners).

The IsDB and Donors have established a management unit whose mandate is to coordinate fund activities. The Lives and Livelihoods Fund Management Unit (LLF MU) supports pipeline development and oversees the LLF project portfolio in close collaboration with IsDB teams.

What We Do

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) is creating change for good. We help to bridge funding gaps, using our innovative financing model, by providing the poorest IsDB member countries with concessional finance for much needed projects in healthcare, agriculture and infrastructure development. This empowers beneficiary governments and provides a sustainable way to drive economic growth and raise living standards of the most vulnerable.

As of today, the challenges facing the poorest countries are as overwhelming as they have ever been. Developed countries have cut their foreign aid budgets, while domestic tax revenues in the least developed and lower middle-income member states of the IsDB are not rising fast enough to replace these budget cuts. Moreover, some pockets of extreme poverty are not covered by traditional development funds due to scale, lack of access, or the need for highly specific project design.

Where We Work

95% of LLF resources are targeted towards 33 of IsDB’s least developed member countries (LDMCs) as well as lower-middle income member countries (LMICs). These countries include: 


  • Afghanistan
  • The Gambia
  • Palestine
  • Bangladesh
  • Guinea
  • Senegal
  • Benin
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Sierra Leone
  • Burkina Faso
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Somalia
  • Cameroon
  • Maldives
  • Sudan
  • Chad
  • Mali
  • Tajikistan
  • Comoros
  • Mauritania
  • Togo
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Mozambique
  • Uganda
  • Djibouti
  • Niger
  • Yemen


  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Indonesia
  • Nigeria
  • Uzbekistan

How We Do It

From 2016 to 2020 the LLF will make up to US$2.5 billion available for poverty alleviation projects to Governments of the eligible IsDB Member countries. These projects will help the poorest people in the least developed countries in the IsDB’s membership to lead healthier and more productive lives, enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty.

In many countries, diseases, compounded by weak healthcare systems, food insecurity, lack of basic infrastructure, including roads and sanitation, are the norm. Additionally, war, famine and natural disasters beset the people who are least able to face these challenges. Vulnerable countries become caught in a spiral of poor human development outcomes and political instability. 

The LLF invests in key drivers of poverty in these contexts. The focus areas of the Fund are Health (20% - 60% of funding allocation), Agriculture (20% - 60% of funding allocation) and Basic Infrastructure (maximum 20% of funding allocation). Eligible investment areas within these broad domains are:

Health projects targeting:

  • Combating infectious diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, polio and neglected tropical diseases
  • Ensuring routine immunization coverage
  • Reducing childhood mortality
  • Strengthening primary healthcare systems for equitable access to quality healthcare services. 

Agriculture projects targeting:   

  • Boosting production of staple crops and livestock by smallholder farmers and pastoralists 
  • Providing smallholder farmers and producers with better access to markets, innovation and technology
  • Increasing income stability among smallholder farmers, including through favoring entrepreneurship.

Basic Infrastructure projects targeting:   

  • Providing better access to drinkable water and sanitation services
  • Improving access to electric supply
  • Providing greater digital financial inclusion

The innovative LLF Financing model

The LLF provides access to affordable financing for social development projects. It does so by pooling grant resources from regional and international donors with market-based ordinary project financing to offer highly concessional funding that targets previously unreachable sub-sectors and project areas. 

For projects in the least developed member countries (LDMCs), LLF offers ~35% grant portions and 65% IsDB OCR financing (indivisible). Since IMF rules allow lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) to borrow at market rates, the LLF offers packages of 10% grant portion and 90% IsDB ordinary financing, which makes offered financing considerable cheaper for the recipient countries.  

The blending results in substantially more funds, at concessional rates, made available for social development projects in geographies where they are most needed. The concessionality is leveraged to target key drivers of poverty in the beneficiary countries.

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund works within the framework of the IMF’s debt sustainability policy, which takes into account a country’s financial circumstances. The framework guides the borrowing of low-income countries in a way that matches their financing needs with their current and future ability to repay debts.

The LLF enables the IsDB to more than double its capacity to offer concessional financing in priority to the least developed member countries to finance high impact projects for lifting millions out of poverty, through financing packages of 35% grant portion and 65% IsDB ordinary capital resources. 

Approved projects

The LLF’s Impact Committee regularly reviews proposals for projects in IsDB member countries that can benefit from the fund’s unique concessional finance model. 

Projects approved so far, for the first batch (2016) and second batch (2017) of funding were primarily in LDMCs in West Africa. The 7 new Projects approved in the third batch (2018) expanded the geographical coverage further eastward (Middle East and Asia), as well as in sub-Sahara African countries. The value of projects approved, by the LLF Impact Committee, has crossed the $US 1 Billion mark in 2018, with a portfolio geared for high impact. These funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of infectious diseases and improve access to quality care for all. Funds will help to increase access to clean water, and empower poor farmers and pastoralists to grow more food by developing the necessary basic infrastructure and integrated pastoralism.

As of today, the LLF portfolio represents 19 active projects in 18 countries organized into 26 operations, 29% of which are already disbursing and some 55% are still navigating between the signing agreements and their effectiveness. The remaining 6% are under preparation. 

The Least Developed Member Countries with LLF projects include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Guinea, the Gambia, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. Five of the six eligible LMICs, including Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Morocco and Pakistan, have LLF investments as well.  

LLF and the SDGs

Leveraging its innovative financing model, the LLF allows the IsDB member Countries to fight the root causes of extreme poverty in the most marginalized populations, through helping them to achieve the SDGs. The LLF partnership model addresses the SDG-17 while focusing on reduction of extreme poverty (SDG-1). 

The Fund targets critical needs in health (SDG-3), Agriculture (SDG-2) and basic infrastructure (SDGs 6 and 9). LLF interventions also, directly or indirectly, contribute to achieving numerous other SDGs in member countries. 

Learning more about the LLF

The LLF Management Unit has developed numerous materials for easing the understanding of LLF fundamentals and development. 

An LLF Guide available in English, French and Arabic languages is available and explains in great details the history, vision, working mechanisms and perspective of the Fund. Additionally, guidelines on how to apply for LLF financing are available for Government personnel of eligible countries who are interested in the LLF financing. These Guides can be downloaded freely and further information can be requested by contacting the LLF Management Unit.

The Annual Report for the years 2017 and 2018 have been issued in English, French and Arabic languages and can be downloaded. They present the financial statements of the facility, and highlight the yearly activities of the fund. , There is also focus on specific projects presented from the perspectives of recipient countries with their perceived stakes at play and expected benefits. 

LLF Contact 

Ms. Alaa Abdullati
Executive Assistant
Lives and Livelihoods Fund Management Unit
Phone: +966 (0)12 646 7012


Guide to the Live and Livelihoods Fund - PDF

Annual Report 2018