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African leaders call for increase investment in IFAD to end rural hunger and poverty

Ten African heads of state have issued a strong call to other world leaders to increase their funding for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) or to risk threatening sustainable development targets to eradicate poverty and hunger, particularly in Africa

“We share IFAD’s vision of vibrant rural communities where people live free from poverty and hunger,” wrote the leaders of Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo in letters to their counterparts in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

“Investing in building the resilience of rural people is now more important than ever in order to secure food supplies, safeguard rural livelihoods, ensure that progress made over the years is not lost and prevent more rural people from falling into poverty and hunger.”

Right now, Africa is tackling conflict, changing weather patterns, pests and the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. The continent’s hunger levels are twice the world average.

In the letters, African leaders called for a significant increase in contributions to IFAD’s Twelfth Replenishment (IFAD12) – a year-long consultative process in which Member States come together to agree on strategic directions and mobilise IFAD funds to provide concessional loans and grants to developing countries.

“This support from the African Heads of State is a testimony to the real impact IFAD is having on the lives and livelihoods of rural people in these countries,” said Marie Haga, IFAD’s associate vice-president for external relations and governance. “Their support demonstrates the importance of investing in rural areas to achieve national food security, environmental sustainability and economic development which has a monumental impact on global stability and resilience.”

Around 75% of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. In their letters, African leaders highlight the immense potential of African agriculture and the strong evidence that investing in agriculture is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty.

IFAD aims is to deliver a total work programme of US$10bn for the IFAD12 period (2022-2024), with more than half of the investment allocated to Africa. This would help more than 140 million small-scale producers increase their production and income through better market access and resilience, contribute to job creation and improve food security and nutrition for those most at risk of being left behind.

“A successful replenishment has the potential to unlock billions of dollars in financing to transform rural economies and food systems around the world, as well as enable IFAD to double its impact by 2030 and contribute to ending poverty and hunger,” wrote the leaders.

As the pandemic spreads across the world, the poor and vulnerable are the ones who suffer the most, including rural women, young people and small-scale farmers. Faced with the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic and the consequences of prolonged drought and locust infestation, African leaders called together to reaffirm the global commitment to end hunger.