IFAD Reappoints Houngbo President

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Oluchi Chibuzor

Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have reappointed Gilbert Houngbo as President for a second term at its annual Governing Council meeting.

This according to the UN’s body was a strong show of support and recognition for the leader who has successfully showcased the importance of long-term rural development as a key solution to the global challenges the world is currently facing.

According to a statement issued by IFAD, even with more ambitious agenda at the heart of his second mandate, and a particular focus on technological solutions, innovative financing models and new private sector partnerships, IFAD would continue tackling hunger and poverty and address the devastating impacts of climate change, youth unemployment and most recently COVID-19, leading on the ground to ensure no one is left behind.

Commenting on its reappointment, Houngbo, who has been IFAD’s President since 2017, said, “With the pandemic still devastating rural areas and the projections for increased poverty and hunger, the need for IFAD to scale up is more urgent than ever.

“Today it is COVID, yesterday it was a tsunami, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. The threat from climate change and extreme weather will not diminish, and we should prepare.
“No rural woman or man should ever be in a position of having to sell his or her meagre assets – or be forced to migrate – in order to survive”

The statement noted that under Houngbo’s continued leadership, IFAD aims to double its impact by 2030 and offer a life out of poverty and hunger to millions more people, adding that the goal was to ensure 40 million people per year increase their incomes by at least 20 per cent by 2030, which is double what IFAD currently achieves.

To this end, Houngbo has called on donors to contribute significantly more to IFAD, to deliver an overall programme of work of at least $11 billion from 2022 to 2024, including through a new private sector financing programme and an expansion of its pioneering climate change adaptation programme. This will help rebuild stronger rural economies as countries recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and help these marginalised rural populations become far more resilient to climate change and other shocks.

In his acceptance speech, Houngbo said addressing the devastating impacts of climate change and reversing the decline of biodiversity are amongst his highest priorities and addressing the major challenges rural young people face in finding decent employment, which has an enormous impact on instability and migration.