IFAD, the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development of Africa commit to increased investments in agriculture and rural development

Rome, 24 February 2012 – For the first time, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), the Arab Bank for Economic Development of Africa (BADEA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) came together for high-level discussions. The three organizations met at IFAD headquarters in Rome to determine ways of enhancing their collaboration to support smallholder farmers in the rural areas of fragile states.

As a first step toward a strengthened collaboration, the SFD announced an allocation up to US$12 million in grant resources to co-fund IFAD-supported projects in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. The grant funding will go toward creating economic opportunities and increasing incomes of rural communities.

“IFAD highly appreciates this contribution and looks forward to further deepening its partnership with the Saudi Development Fund,” said Mohamed Béavogui, Director of Partnership and Resource Mobilization Office and Senior Advisor to the President of IFAD.

The three organizations expressed concern about the food and nutrition crisis in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. The impacts of a changing climate pose a big challenge to these countries who have too little capacity for adaptation and mitigation, and a limited productive infrastructure. Participants in the high-level meeting emphasized the need for additional resources and long-term investments in agriculture to meet the growing demand for food. The situation will be especially severe in sub-Saharan Africa where the costs of food imports are expected to rise by more than 50 per cent over the next 15 years due to a rapidly growing world population. In a joint effort to improve the livelihoods of rural women and men, the three organizations agreed to hold regular consultations as a means of identifying joint projects, and to share knowledge and expertise.

Thus far, the SFD co-financed three IFAD-supported projects for a total amount of $50.4 million in Morocco, Mauritania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Notes to editors

IFAD has been working for more than 30 years to support poor rural people to overcome poverty, tackle desertification and environmental degradation, and build resilience to weather shocks. The majority of the Fund’s programmes and projects are in marginal, rain-fed areas that are at risk from water shortage, land degradation and desertification.

A founding member of IFAD, Saudi Arabia played a key role in the establishment of IFAD. The agreement establishing IFAD was negotiated under the first President of IFAD, Abdelmuhsin M. Al-Sudeary of Saudi Arabia, who led the organization from 1977-1984. The Kingdom is IFAD ’s second-largest contributor; to date, Saudi Arabia has provided more than $400 million to combat hunger and poverty in developing countries.  

Media Backgrounder No.: IFAD/20/2012

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 about US$13.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering about 405 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nation’s food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 168 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).