New network will improve knowledge sharing and innovation in sub-Saharan Africa

Release number IFAD/27/08

Rome – 29 April, 2008 - IFAD's Executive Board has approved a grant that will help establish FIDAfrique-IFADAfrica, a new knowledge network in sub-Saharan Africa for IFAD-funded programmes and projects and for its development partners.

The new network will build on existing initiatives, including FIDAfrique in Western and Central Africa and the four IFAD-supported thematic knowledge networks in Eastern and Southern Africa. These initiatives have until now been implemented separately.

The network will connect people, organizations, development projects and programmes, and other networks working to reduce rural poverty across sub-Saharan Africa so they can share experiences, mutual learning and innovation for rural poverty reduction. It will also increase the development effectiveness of IFAD-financed programmes and projects and enhance policy dialogue.

IFAD will contribute US$2 million towards the US$3,930,000 three-year programme. The West Africa Rural Foundation (WARF), an experienced foundation currently managing the Central and Western Africa knowledge network, FIDAfrique, will manage the grant.

FIDAfrique was established in Western and Central Africa in 1999 to improve project management by increasing capacity to disseminate information and knowledge, best practices and lessons learned across all IFAD projects in the region. It has also fostered thematic networks on issues such as project management, monitoring and evaluation, innovation and cassava, and has hosted electronic discussions on key themes for agricultural and rural development in the region. Following a positive evaluation of its achievements in 2007, it was proposed that the network be expanded to cover all of sub-Saharan Africa in its future phase.

In Eastern and Southern Africa, IFAD supports several thematic networks related to specific rural development themes, such as agricultural water management, rural finance, market access and monitoring and evaluation.

IFAD was created 30 years ago to tackle rural poverty, a key consequence of the droughts and famines of the early 1970s. Since 1978, IFAD has invested more than US$10 billion in low-interest loans and grants that have helped over 300 million very poor rural women and men increase their incomes and provide for their families.

IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency. It is a global partnership of OECD, OPEC and other developing countries. Today, IFAD supports more than 200 programmes and projects in 81 developing countries and one territory.