UN rural development arm provides over $100 million to fight poverty worldwide
The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced today that it will provide over $100 million to combat rural poverty in eight developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
IFAD’s Executive Board, which met at the agency’s headquarters in Rome from 17 to 18 April, decided the money – $63.5 million in loans and $59.2 million in grants – is earmarked for Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Paraguay, Sierra Leone and Syria.
The grants also include almost $10 million for seven international centres conducting research in agriculture and providing training and technical assistance.
The recipient countries will each use the money to improve the lives of the rural poor.
For example, in Burundi, a grant of almost $14 million will fund a project to rebuild the central African nation’s livestock sector which was almost destroyed by 12 years of civil war. By increasing access to technology, veterinary services and markets, this scheme will allow poor people in rural areas to improve the value of their products and improve the livestock industry. Farmers in the country will also benefit from training and research provided by new field schools.
Meanwhile in Cambodia, a $9.5 million grant will finance a plan to increase the access of 26,000 households to advanced crop and livestock technology.
In Syria, over $20 million will be provided in loans to meet the challenges posed by a growing population on the available natural resources. The scheme will improve irrigation systems and foster the growth of small businesses, including sheep and goat rearing, rural transportation services and small-scale trading.
Under a new framework, countries determined to least be able to repay debt will receive 100 per cent grant assistance from IFAD, while those with medium debt sustainability will receive 50 per cent grant and 50 per cent loan assistance from the agency.
“This new framework means that a poor country’s opportunity to reduce poverty will no longer be linked to its debt situation,” said Gary Howe, IFAD Senior Director. “This is of particular importance for development in Africa.”