IFAD President at Istanbul World Bank-IMF meeting to move smallholder farmers higher up the development agenda

Kanayo F. Nwanze also to receive MDG3 torch towards meeting gender equality

Rome and Istanbul, 1 October 2009 – Ahead of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in Istanbul on 6-7 October, Kanayo F. Nwanze, the President of IFAD, underlined the pivotal role of agriculture in tackling the most pressing challenges facing today's globalized world.

"Resuming economic growth, resolving the food crisis and tackling the challenge of poverty must necessarily be based on creating a dynamic smallholder agriculture sector," Nwanze said.

Nwanze will attend the Development Committee of the World Bank on 5 October, one day before the Bank's annual meeting.

The annual meeting brings together governors of central banks, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives and civil society representatives to discuss issues of global concern. The Istanbul meeting will focus on the needs of developing countries in light of the economic and financial crisis.  The impact of climate change is an additional, ongoing challenge for developing countries.

"Agriculture is where climate change, food security and poverty intersect," said Nwanze.

Over 2 billion rural women and men in Africa, Asia and Latin America depend on smallholder farms. They have a key role to play in bringing sustainable solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow, such as how to achieve food security for all and cope with climate change. 

In Istanbul, Nwanze will also receive the MDG3 torch from the Danish Cooperation Minister Ulla Tørnæs and will commit IFAD to "Doing Something Extra" to support gender equality and women's economic empowerment.

Poor rural women often have fewer resources and less decision-making power than men. "But when women are empowered they can become powerful agents of change in their communities and play critical roles in overcoming rural poverty and hunger," said Nwanze.

Notes to Editors

The MDG3 Torch is an initiative of the Government of Denmark. It was launched in 2008 in Copenhagen and has been awarded to a number of representatives of governments, the private sector, international organizations, civil society, the media and individuals from all over the world.

Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, will hand over the torch to IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze on Sunday 4 October, at 17:15 at Swiss hotel Bosphorus, Bayildim Caddesi, No 2, Macka Besiktas, 34357.

In rural areas of developing countries women are central to productivity and the household economy. In sub–Saharan Africa, around one third of all rural households are headed by women.  

IFAD programmes and projects work to:

  • Increase women's access to key assets such as land and water
  • Strengthen women's decision-making role within their communities
  • Improve the well-being of women and girls and their access to education.

Press release No.: IFAD/44/09

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes, and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested over US$11 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries, empowering some 340 million people to break out of poverty. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 165 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).