The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production but structural problems relating to poverty, and to the fact that the majority of the developing world's poor populations were concentrated in rural areas. Seventy-five per cent of the world's poorest people - 1.4 billion women, children and men - live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. IFAD was created 30 years ago to tackle rural poverty, a key consequence of the droughts and famines of the early 1970s. Since then IFAD has invested more than US $10 billion in help to over 300 million very poor rural women and men to increase their incomes and provide for their families. IFAD is an international financial institution which is in 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.
In her opening statement, Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, spoke of the crisis unfolding on the ground in many African countries at the IFAD 40th Governing Council held in Rome on 14 and 15 February.
”Sub-Saharan Africa remains the locus of poverty, with too many of our fellow citizens living below the poverty line. Today nearly two in five children are malnourished and one in eight women is underweight,” said Gurib-Fakim. “In the absence of a flourishing agricultural sector, the majority of Africans will be excluded from the rising tide of prosperity,” she added. Read her full Speech here