Community Development Foundation, Nigeria

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About Us

The Community Development Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1993 to provide support to institutions that facilitate the socio economic development of the entrepreneurial poor in Nigeria. The foundation offers its services to its chosen clients through:

  • Microcredit
  • Institutional Capacity Building
  • Research and Publications

Over the years the CDF has become proficient and well recognized as an authority in microfinance and capacity building for the rural poor. However, recent developments in the internal and external environment of CDF have posed enormous challenges to the operations of the foundation. There is therefore a need for CDF to strategically position itself to take advantage of its experience over the years, while remaining responsive and relevant to its clients in an ever changing environment. This has called for the development of a new strategic plan for the next three years.

To develop a robust plan for CDF, a current position assessment of CDF was conducted. The findings from the current position assessment formed a major input in the development of the plan. Other issues that were considered include the external environment of CDF and the industry it belongs to.

At the onset of the 1990s, global attention began to shift from government initiated, people oriented projects to private sector grassroots initiatives aimed at eradicating poverty and achieving the needed accelerated rural transformation in developing countries, especially Africa. This new policy thrust arose as a result of the glaring failures of various government anchored programs, which though fashioned to create better living condition for the poor, ended up as mere political slogans with little or no impact on the life of the populace.

This situation was compounded by the failure of the formal financial sector to integrate the informal and semi formal sector in its effort to channel credit towards financing production at the primary level of the economy due to:

  1. Absence of tangible collateral on the part of rural intermediaries
  2. Cost ineffectiveness of lending to a larger number of small widely dispersed borrowers
  3. Assumed unwillingness to pay interest on loans at prevail rates.
  4. Fear of a high default rate in loans repayments.

However, empirical evidence indicates that the poor posses the will and desire to help themselves out of poverty through self employment and would do so if they had access to credit.


From time immemorial, many African communities, Nigeria inclusive, have had flourishing credit markets known severally as isusu, osusu, esusu, adashi, ajo, bam, e.t.c. However, the operations of these self-help, micro-credit initiatives are generally informal, undocumented and restricted to the contributions of members who take turns at borrowing from the pool. One major draw back is that funds mobilized through these methods are usually not sufficient enough to make any meaningful impact in their lives - in terms of improvement.


On the positive side, such indigenous credit groups, many of which exist as Community Development Associations (CDAs), have no bureaucratic or hierarchical bottlenecks and operate well in an unregulated and unrestricted environment using trust and consensus as collateral. The success of these schemes over time brought to fore the need to evolve a more pragmatic rural credit delivery system that would take cognizance of local conditions and peculiarities of targeted groups and ultimately link the formal and informal sectors.


Consequently, in October 1991, Ford Foundation and the Pratt Institute of New York sponsored representatives of some NGOs and African CDAs on a study tour to the United States to explore the potential of promoting alternative approach to financing community development initiatives and capacity building of CDAs.


As a result of the experience garnered from our tour, a consultative group comprising on Ford Foundation, CDA representatives and some well meaning community development activists was set up to fashion out a workable approach to channeling resources to micro-entrepreneurs.

After two years of brainstorming, the group decided to launch the Community Development (CDF), then known as the Nigerian Community Development Trust Fund (NCDTF) as a not for profit, non-governmental financial intermediary organization in 1993. The Foundation began operation in 1993 with its corporate mission targeted at:

'Expanding the productivity capacities and improving the social and economic status of low income people through effective provision of financial and capacity building services to local intermediary institutions that are engaged in enterprise development and microfinance activities'



The Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria duly incorporated the Foundation on March 16, 1998 under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990. Community Development Foundation is registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee with registration number RC. 331414.

The Community Development Foundation has a national mandate. As at April 2002, the Foundation has established relationships and extended assistance to several grassroots organizations in about 22 states of the federation and Federal Capital territory. The CDF partners are spread in the six geo/political zones.

A Steering Committee headed by Mr. Felix Akpe, appointed an Executive Director in the person of Mr. Olubunmi A. Adetunmbi in June, 1993. Technoserve and an initial grant of USD75, 000.00, the Foundation opened its first office at strachan street, Lagos. Operating under an atmosphere of political instability and declining donor confidence, the first two and a half years were spent developing:

  • an appropriate financial system concepts
  • product methodologies
  • policies and procedure
  • the market
  • Administrative, human resource and governance structures.

Having achieved this, the Foundation embarked on a pilot scheme to test run its program. ready for autonomy, the Foundation commenced its incorporation as a company limited by guarantee and changed its name from NCDTF to the CDF. The incorporation was conducted in March 1998). The Foundation formally launched its pilot grant and loans scheme with a total grant of NGN1, 690, 000.00 and loan approval of NGN1,690,000.00 for six (6) clients organisations. (A few organisations has benefited from grants before this time.)

As a result of the successful outcome of its intervention strategies, the Foundation began to expand its scope and scale up its activities. the emergence of CDF as the prime mover in micro enterprise financing is the actualization of the faith of men of goodwill in the inherent ability of man to develop himself and attain sustainability.

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CDF MCP Participants   we wish to inform you that as from this diet (2018), the examinations would be conducted via Computer Based Testing (CBT) platform.
CDF Nigeria enlisted amongst the Nigeria Network of NGOs    ~ networking for development
Mission Statement   ~ "To be an enabling foundation, supporting institutions that facilitate the socio-economic development and self reliance of the poor in a sustainable manner."
Vision Statement    ~ "“To be a leading development organization for sustainable livelihood"
Guest House Accomodation / Training Facilities   Inside the CDF Training Complex are Conference facilities, Internet Facilities, Standby generator, Continental Dishes, Guest Accomodations. For Reservation, please call the Hotel Lines: +234 1 8798001, +234 18152519, +234 18127598, +234 17646270
CDF Nigeria partners government and private companies on development   
CDF partners LiveWIRE for Young Business Leaders Award   
Community Development Foundation Nigeria Enlisted amongst the West African Management Development Institutes Network (WAMDEVIN) Member Institutions