Newly-appointed IFAD Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific visits Bangladesh

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Newly-appointed IFAD Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific visits Bangladesh

Newly appointed IFAD Regional Director, Reehana Rifat Raza (centre), and delegates from Rome, meet with project participants in the Jashore district.

Dhaka, 20 May 2022 - Reehana Rifat Raza, the Regional Director of the Asia and Pacific Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), was on mission to Bangladesh this week - her first official visit to the region since she took up appointment on 9 May 2022.  

The purpose of the visit was to meet with government counterparts, key development partners, the IFAD team in Bangladesh and to visit ongoing projects in the field.

In Dhaka, the IFAD delegation met with Amal Krishna Mandal, the Additional Secretary and Wing Chief, Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance. Raza took the opportunity to personally praise the Government of Bangladesh for pledging US$2 million to IFAD’s 2022-2024 replenishment cycle. This is the highest amount that Bangladesh has pledged during its 42-year membership to the fund.

Raza visited activities implemented under IFAD’s Bangladesh portfolio, which is composed of eight ongoing projects with a total investment of US$1.25 billion, that includes $475 million of IFAD financing, making Bangladesh IFAD’s second-largest country programme overall.

“It is a priority for IFAD to invest in a country like Bangladesh that seeks to address development work in key thematic areas such as climate change, youth, gender, food security and nutrition in its current and future development goals,” said Raza. She also commended the robust implementing capacity of national partners, which has been key to the success of the large and complex development portfolio.

Reehana Rifat Raza is an economist with over 20 years of experience formulating and managing innovative economic research while providing technical assistance in human development, governance, and service delivery. Raza joined IFAD in May 2022 from the Urban Institute in Washington D.C., USA. She previously served as a Senior Economist at The World Bank and as an adjunct faculty member at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

“Bangladesh has been doing tremendous work in rural development, empowering women and youth, transforming food systems and building climate resilience – all key interventions to achieving the sustainable development goals. Bangladesh being the first country visited by the new Asia and the Pacific Regional Director clearly shows the importance of the long-standing and successful partnership between the Government of Bangladesh and IFAD,” said Arnoud Hameleers, IFAD Country Director, Bangladesh.

In a meeting with Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director, Bangladesh, Raza noted the ongoing partnership in increasing smallholders’ access to markets and boosting agricultural productivity in Bangladesh. She also underscored the importance of sector-wide collaborative efforts to build long-term resilience to climate change and ensure food and nutrition security for all.

Raza also met with Edimon Ginting, Asian Development Bank Country Director, Bangladesh, to discuss a new co-financed project that will build the climate resilience of rural communities by improving their capacity to manage small-scale water resources management. This initiative builds on the success of previous project partnerships.

The IFAD delegation also travelled to Jashore District to visit IFAD interventions implemented by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) under the Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) project. Raza was able to meet with project participants who have benefited from micro-loans, training and access to innovative technologies. She saw how their participation in these activities has enabled their families to generate more income and create sustainable livelihoods.

Raza was joined by IFAD’s Director for the Operational Policy and Results Division, Nigel Brett and the Lead Portfolio Advisor of the Asia and the Pacific Region, Liam Francis Chicca.

Read more about IFAD’s work in Bangladesh.

Press release No.: IFAD/23/2022

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$ 23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 518 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

A wide range of photographs of IFAD’s work in rural communities are available for download from its Image Bank.