The rural poor across Cameroon are set to receive a cash injection of close to $14 million from the United Nations in an effort to reduce poverty, increase income and improve livelihoods.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will support the Rural Microfinance Development project in the West African country with a $13.5 million loan and $200,000 grant.
The microfinance scheme will help the growing numbers of young people leaving cities, which have high rates of unemployment, for rural areas looking for work in agriculture and its related sectors but have difficulty in accessing credit.
Women, who despite their heavy workload and financial constraints start up small businesses involved in processing, storage, transport and handicraft activities, will particularly benefit from the projects.
IFAD expects the initiatives to increase rural employment, boost the income of the rural poor, improve their food security and nutrition, as well as enhance the status of women, who will take part in managing the microfinance institutions.
The funding will target smallholder farmers experiencing difficulty in buying inputs and technology the rural populations in the Centre, Extreme-North, North-West and Western Regions of Cameroon.
To date, IFAD has funded seven rural development projects in Cameroon for a total of $85 million.