IFAD and Egypt to promote resilience in desert environments with a US$81 million investment

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IFAD and Egypt to promote resilience in desert environments with a US$81 million investment

©IFAD/Cristian Gennari

Rome, 19 February 2019 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Egypt signed a financing agreement today to reduce poverty and enhance food and nutrition security by sustainably improving incomes and resilient livelihoods for 450,000 rural people in the Matrouh Governorate.

The agreement for the Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments (PRIDE) project was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Egypt.

The total cost of the project is US$81.6 million, including a $61.9  million loan and a $1 million grant from IFAD. The government will contribute $14 million and the private sector will make up the difference.

"A new development axis for Agribusiness Investments in Egypt, would be a chance though especially in the context of supporting small investors and startups, as well as empowering youth and innovative projects in agriculture sector, with the ultimate objective of sustainability and inclusive growth, ” said Nasr. "The project will be a transformation, and an excellent example of the strategic partnership between with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in priority Governorates.”

"IFAD's collaboration through PRIDE will also link to and leverage national initiatives that the Government of Egypt is focusing on, including the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 and a 1.5 million feddan governmental initiative aimed at increasing Egypt's farmlands and fostering livelihood opportunities for young farmers," said Khalida Bouzar, Regional Director, Near East, North Africa and Central Asia (NEN) Division at IFAD. "PRIDE will also benefit from IFAD's experience working with smallholders and settling communities on the new lands."

The project aims to address two key challenges in the lower Nile region – the impact of climate change and malnutrition – by building climate resilience in disadvantaged communities and offering a variety of nutrition-sensitive activities.

The project is expected to improve the nutritional and socio-economic profiles and productive capacities of local communities, including a 19,000 feddan (7,980 hectare) increase in the area under agricultural production due to the development and rehabilitation of wadis through rain-water harvesting infrastructure and planting of fig and olive trees and the introduction of new technologies, such as electronic tablets, to improve water quality monitoring and management among women and men.  

To tackle nutrition-related challenges prevailing in the targeted area, the project will work to improve the diets of women and children while helping them access better water and sanitation. By building schools and health clinics, the project will provide sanitation facilities for 18,000 rural people, education for 1,000 students and health facilities for 15,000 women annually. In addition, the project will increase livestock productivity; and support families on newly reclaimed desert lands to cultivate suitable crops.

Since 1979, IFAD has financed 13 rural development programmes and projects in Egypt, investing $456 million or $842 million when co-financing is included. These projects and programmes have benefitted around 7.2 million rural people.

Press release No.: IFAD/11/2019

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 480 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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David Florentin Paqui

Regional Communications Officer, East and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa