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17 developing countries benefit from nearly $320 million in UN loans

17 developing countries benefit from nearly $320 million in UN loans

Seventeen developing countries will benefit from $319.5 million in loans and $6.4 million in grants to improve the living conditions of rural poor under the latest tranche approved today by a United Nations agency devoted to agricultural development.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), meeting at its headquarters in Rome, approved the loans and grants for rural development projects in Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nepal, Sudan, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia.

Loans to the Asia-Pacific region total $88.4 for projects ranging from the development of marginal upland and coastal communities in Indonesia to poverty reduction programmes in Viet Nam to a microfinance project in Bangladesh.

In eastern and southern Africa, loans worth $76.1 million will support agricultural services in Tanzania, rural finance in Zambia, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in Lesotho and improved agricultural marketing in Ethiopia.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, IFAD loans total $75 million for projects ranging from helping small farmers and indigenous communities in Patagonia, Argentina, to supporting rural entrepreneurial activities in Brazil to promoting market-oriented small businesses in Guatemala.

In the Near East and North Africa region, IFAD will provide $64 million in loans to help rural communities in the Tlemcen mountainous northern region of Algeria, rural mountain districts in Armenia and poor households in Kordofan, western Sudan, among other projects.

In western and central Africa, loans worth $16 million will fund an eight-year sustainable rural development programme in Burkina Faso.

The Fund also approved three grants of $3.9 million to support a range of agricultural activities, including emergency assistance to control the spread of desert locusts in northern and West Africa, strengthening a national agriculture strategy in Rwanda and improving the capacity of poor rural communities in seven Pacific Island countries to address development challenges posed by their remoteness and isolation.