IFAD Provides USD 11.76 Million to Boost Support to Community Development in North and Central Province in Cameroon

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IFAD Provides USD 11.76 Million to Boost Support to Community Development in North and Central Province in Cameroon

Press release number: IFAD 30/02

Rome, 29 May 2002 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will loan USD11.76 million to the Republic of Cameroon to finance the Community Development Support Project in North and Central Province, totally amounting to USD 18.29 million. A loan agreement was signed today at the Fund’s Headquarters, by His Excellency Mr. Michael Tabong Kima, Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon in Rome, and Mr. Cyril Enweze, Vice-President of IFAD.

The project will cover two provinces. The first is the Extreme North Province, a semi-arid Sudano-Sahelian zone with 2.5 million inhabitants. The second, the Central Province, is a humid forest area of bimodal rainfall, with 2.3 million inhabitants. In both provinces, extensive agricultural activity with low productivity typifies the livelihood of the majority of the population.

The project beneficiaries are the vulnerable poor rural communities of the Extreme North and Central Provinces of Cameroon. These communities have limited access to resources, social infrastructure and information. A household survey carried out in 1996 indicates that the poor constitute 51% of Cameroon’s population, with 87% of poor households living in rural areas. The project targets youth and women (52% of the poor) who are subsistence farmers with limited access to land and traditionally excluded from the decision-making process. Beneficiaries also include migrants from the northern mountains who are landless and live in a precarious situation, as well as the disabled and elderly people with no means of support.

The project will support the empowerment of local communities, including women and youth, by helping them to: (a) analyze their own development constraints; (b) identify, formulate and prioritize their own solutions; (c) draw up corresponding action plans; and implement, operate and maintain these plans. It will also provide financial assistance for building social infrastructure, creating local sources of microfinance and promoting local entrepreneurs. The project will promote income-generating activities among poorer groups by providing them with technical and managerial expertise, and by linking them to a reliable microfinance institution. An essential first step in the process will be to foster a radical attitude change in favor of genuine participatory community development, both among public and private service providers, as well as authorities at all levels. Their capacity to promote participatory community development will be strengthened through training and the implementation of a mechanism to permit the regular exchange of experiences and best practices.

To date, IFAD has financed 6 projects in the Republic of Cameroon for a total loan amount of about USD71 million.

IFAD is a specialised agency of the United Nations with the specific mandate of combating hunger and poverty in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. Since 1978 IFAD has financed 603 projects in 115 recipient countries and in the West Bank and Gaza for a total commitment of approximately USD 7,3 billion in loans and grants. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available to low-income countries on very favourable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of open years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.