Lennart Båge, President of IFAD visits Algeria from 7 to 9 June 2002 for official talks to boost rural development

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Lennart Båge, President of IFAD visits Algeria from 7 to 9 June 2002 for official talks to boost rural development

Press release number: IFAD 31/02

Rome-Algiers, Thursday 6 June 2002 - Lennart Båge, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is scheduled to arrive in Algiers, Friday (7 June 2002) on a 3-day official visit to the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria. During the visit, President Båge is expected to pay a courtesy call on HE Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the Republic and to hold extensive talks with HE Mr. Ali Benflis, Prime Minister, HE Mr. Said Barkat, Minister of Agriculture and Governor of Algeria to IFAD, HE Mr. Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Mr. Mourad Medelci, Minister of Finance and senior government officials on current and future investments of the Fund in fighting rural poverty in the country.

President Båge will also brief government officials on the outcome of the recent Regional Ministerial Conference on ''Rural Poverty Assessment and Strategic Opportunities in the Near East and North Africa'' held in Beirut, Lebanon from 8-9 May 2002, which adapted a Regional Strategy for poverty reduction to meet the goals of the Millennium Summit. Discussions are also expected to cover IFAD's support for the NEPAD partnership initiative for the development of Africa, of which Algeria was one of the first five initiators along with South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Egypt.

During his visit President Båge is also expected to review with HE Mr. Said Barkat, Minister of Agriculture in the presentation of Algeria's National Plan for Agricultural Development. The Plan is considered a milestone in the country's efforts to address rural poverty and accelerate socio-economic development. On the eve of his departure to Algiers, President Båge expressed his intention to reinforce further relations with Algeria as one of the founding fathers of the Fund to consolidate IFAD's programme of operations in the country in support of the national plan.

To date, IFAD has invested US$ 48 million in four projects with a total of US$ 95.1 million to the benefit of more than 13 839 of the poorest rural households (some 113 700 individuals). These programs include the Cereal and Livestock Smallholder Development Project in the Wilaya of Tiaret, the Pilot Project for Integrated Development of the Mellegue Watershed in Algeria and Tunisia, the Artisanal Fisheries Pilot Development Project and the Pilot Project for the Development for Mountain Agriculture in the Watershed Basin of Oued Saf Saf. The last project, approved in December 2001 has just started implementation. Future IFAD interventions are expected to cover priority areas including rural development projects in mountainous zones with high incidence of poverty, an agricultural development project in the pastoral and steppe areas in association with the ongoing land concession programme and other interventions to support Government’s efforts to combat rural poverty.

IFAD is a specialized 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. Through these projects, about 250 million rural people have had a chance to move out of poverty. IFAD makes the greater part of its resources available to low-income countries on very favorable terms, with up to 40 years for repayment and including a grace period of up to ten years and a service charge of 0.75% per year.