Investing in rural development will stabilize African communities IFAD President tells Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference. Mr. Nwanze raised this point when he was speaking at the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference in Rome.
Mr. Nwanze raised this point when he was speaking at the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference in Rome.
“IFAD and Italy share a conviction that a vibrant agricultural sector depends on small-scale farming and that smallholder farmers have a crucial role to play in food security, nutrition, and poverty reduction,” said Nwanze. “Italy has a long history of investing in sub-Saharan Africa’s development, and this is also where about half of IFAD’s financing is directed.”
Organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the conference brings together over 40 African ministers of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Italian government officials including the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, plus other representatives from the United Nations and the African Union. The focus of the day-long event is to discuss opportunities for sustainable growth in Africa that address issues related to migration and climate change.
The IFAD President discussed the crucial role investment in agriculture can play in developing African economies and in creating opportunities for the estimated 224 million African young people who will be seeking employment over the next decade.
“Too many die on the road to a better life, their bodies found across the Saharan desert or washed up on Mediterranean beaches,” said Nwanze. “This adds to the urgency of our work.”
Italy is one of the strong supporters of IFAD. Among IFAD's member states, Italy is the fifth largest financial contributor to the organization’s resources, with a cumulative pledge of US$509 million. In addition to its regular contributions to IFAD, Italy has channeled about $60 million in supplementary funds to co-finance specific initiatives and projects in selected thematic and geographic areas. Half of the supplementary funds received from Italy since 1994 focused on promoting food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Mauritania, Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Niger, Guinea Bissau, and more recently Guinea, by supporting smallholder farming systems, rural financial services, value chains development and access to markets.