KENYA – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has officially opened its East and Southern Africa regional office in Nairobi, Kenya.
The regional office will be hosted at the UN Complex in Gigiri and will support portfolio performance, facilitate country programme knowledge sharing, streamline business processes, crowd-in development finance, and expand partnerships, resource mobilization and policy engagement.
It will facilitate IFAD’s catalysed public and private investments in agriculture to benefit rural communities and enterprises in the 22 countries that it will serve in the region.
These countries are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Formation of the new hub will not only help position IFAD as a leader on food systems transformation but also enable the institution to scale up new and innovative approaches in pursuit of meeting its goal of reducing hunger and poverty.
“The opening of the regional office is a key milestone for IFAD’s decentralization process, which seeks to build on the achievements by the institution for more than four decades.
“The increase of our presence in the region is also a demonstration of our commitment to serve the last mile, reaching the most marginalized people,” said Guoqi Wu, IFAD Associate Vice President, Corporate Services Department.
In East and Southern Africa, agriculture is the largest sector, employing 65 per cent of the labour force and accounting for over 30 per cent of the region’s GDP.
Maize, wheat, rice, millet, potatoes and cassava are the main agricultural trade commodities, generating an estimated annual trade revenue of US$50 billion.
Unfortunately, there has been a decline in agricultural production triggered by shocks such as climate change, COVID-19 and conflicts.
Since 1977, IFAD has made major investments in reducing poverty, increasing food security, improving nutrition and strengthening rural people’s resilience by providing more than US$23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to fund programmes and projects in developing countries.
Last year, the organization supported projects reached an estimated 130 million people. Today, the region has 50 ongoing IFAD-supported projects and programmes valued at US$4.2 billion spread over 17 countries.
IFAD’s other African regional offices are based in Cairo, Egypt, serving Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The second office is the West and Central Africa hub serving Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.