Rural Poverty Projects In 16 Countries Receive Major Boost From New UN Funds
New York, Dec 19 2008 1:10PM
Efforts to reduce rural poverty in 16 developing countries received a major boost thanks to $258 million in new funding
approved by the United Nations agency working to help men and women in impoverished areas increase their incomes and
improve their communities.
The Executive Board of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved more than $197.55 million
in loans and $60.83 million in grants for the projects during its meeting this week in Rome.
“The agreement of the Executive Board to this package will enable IFAD to continue to work closely with national
governments and partners to help poor rural people in these 16 developing countries build better lives,” said IFAD
President Lennart Båge.
“The rural poor, who are the most vulnerable to global problems like climate change and financial crisis, are at the
centre of IFAD’s work and we are single-minded in our commitment to do more and serve them better. The Board’s support
will allow us to do that,” he added.
The largest portion of the newly-approved funds, over $100 million, will assist several African nations, including the
strife-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as well as Swaziland and Kenya, to reduce poverty, improve food
security and enhance living conditions.
Projects in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from some $96 million in funds to, among other things, increase
agricultural production and market access, acquiring vital inputs such as seeds and tools, and rehabilitating necessary
Several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Yemen and the West Bank and
Gaza, are also set to benefit from this fresh injection of funds.
Meanwhile, IFAD reported that its member States have backed a $3 billion, three-year programme for the agency, which,
coupled with co-financing from its many partners, could mean as much as $7.5 billion for agriculture, poverty reduction
and food security for the world’s most vulnerable rural populations.
As part of this package, members agreed on a target of $1.2 billion in new contributions to help poor rural people
already suffering from recent spikes in food and fuel prices.
“This significant increase from IFAD’s members, especially given these financially tough times, is an extraordinary
expression of political resolve to support poor rural people,” said Mr. Båge.
Some 75 per cent of the world’s poorest people – some 1 billion women, children and men – live in rural areas and depend
on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. With the new resources, IFAD will be able to create and
support economic opportunities for an estimated 60 million of them.