The United Nations agency tackling rural poverty is providing $100 million in financing for a programme to help poor households in Ethiopia gain access to financial services and diversify their income-generating activities.
The $50 million loan and $50 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is for the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme – Phase II (RUFIP II), according to a news release issued by the Rome-based agency.
Poor people living in Ethiopia’s rural areas need access to credit on a regular basis so they can build up their assets and diversify their income-generating activities, the agency noted. Without any collateral, they often depend on moneylenders and pay exorbitant rates of interest.
Currently, only about 15 per cent of rural households have access to savings and credit services. The RUFIP II programme, which will be implemented nationwide, will build on the successes of the first phase, scaling up the delivery of financial services from 3.3 million poor rural households in 2012 to 6.9 million by the middle of 2019.
Some 3.6 million poor rural households living on less than $2 per day, of which nearly 50 per cent are women, are set to benefit from the programme – the 16th financed by IFAD in the country.
IFAD has invested about $13.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries over the past three decades, empowering about 405 million people to break out of poverty and to create vibrant rural communities.