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Viewpoint 5: The human face of development: Investing in people
When we look at the world today, we see impressive gains as well as daunting challenges. The Millennium Development Goal target of halving extreme poverty rates was met at the global level five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. There are now more than 100 middle-income countries, as diverse as Brazil, Lesotho and Vanuatu. It is estimated that developing countries’ share of the global middle-class population will rise from 55 per cent today to 78 per cent by 2025. However, amid rising affluence in some countries and regions, there is also growing inequality. In 2015, there will still be 970 million people living in poverty – the vast majority of them in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. And there remain 842 million chronically undernourished people in the world. Volatile commodity prices bring hunger to the poorest, and instability to markets and societies. Climate change and environmental degradation throw long shadows over all of humanity’s gains. Against this background, we must confront the question of how humankind is going to continue to feed and sustain itself in the future.
Private-Sector Strategy: Deepening IFADs engagement with the private sector
This new IFAD strategy responds to these global developments and calls for IFAD to be more systematic and proactive in engaging with the private sector. The new strategy specifies how IFAD intends to deepen its engagement with the private sector (be it small, medium, or large; domestic, regional, or international companies) with the aim of creating markets for its target groups; improving their access to inputs, services, knowledge and technology; and increasing income-generating or job-creating opportunities for its target populations.
This coming year could determine not only whether the world rises to the considerable challenges now facing it—climate change, persistent hunger, increasing inequality, stubborn poverty—but also affecting the fate of generations to come. With a growing population that will exceed 9 billion by 2050, the increasing effects of climate change, a widening gap between rich and poor, and growing competition for resources, the major issues facing humanity cannot wait. Deliberation must give way to deliberate action. But the global political will to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition within a generation, and the conviction that this is achievable, are growing. An ambitious agenda is emerging in the process of identifying post-2015 development goals. It aims to end poverty everywhere in all its forms, and to end hunger and achieve food security. And it plans to do so sustainably. This would perhaps be one of the greatest steps ever taken to secure the future of humanity and the life of the planet.
Scaling up note: Gender equality and women’s empowerment
IFAD has achieved significant results in promoting innovative gender mainstreaming and pro-poor approaches and processes in its operations, making this an area of IFAD’s comparative advantage.
Gender and rural development brief: West and Central Africa
Three quarters of the poor population in West and Central Africa – about 90 million people – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. More than 60 per cent of the active population work in the agriculture sector. Women’s share – estimated at 70 per cent in the region as a whole and 89 per cent in the Sahel – continues to rise. Socio-politically, West and Central Africa is still very fragile, with the highest concentration of countries with IFAD operations. Despite this fragility and the poverty that affects over half the population, virtually all countries in the region have made considerable progress over the past decade, particularly in education, health and income redistribution.
Reviving Tradition, Boosting Employment
In Tunisia, young women managed to set up their own small enterprises that produce and sell Al margoum, a traditional embroidery of Berber origin that was on the verge of disappearing.
Managing natural resources comprehensively and sustainably to combat poverty in pastoral communities
In Djibouti, pastoral communities have made a clearimprovement in their living conditions with better access to water and strengthened capacity in natural resources conservationa and management.
Starting Rural Businesses after the War
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a project co-sponsored by IFAD helped the war-ravaged country make the transition from immediate relief and rehabilitation to long-term sustainable development.
A gender-balanced model for community development
In Yemen, a community-led project for fostering women's empowerment has imporoved the food security of thousands of landless and smallholder famers living in the poorest areas of the country. From 2004 to late 2012, the Dhamar Participatory Rural Development Project, cofunded by IFAD and the Government of Yemen, addressed the needs of the rural population in the Dhamar Governorate. By ensuring the participation of rural people in the decision-making processes and income-generating activities, the project improved the food security of substience farmers and their families in the villages of Dhamar.