The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has proposed that investing in rural infrastructure and agriculture are necessary ingredients in the struggle to combat poverty in developing countries.
“Thirty years ago, the IFAD pointed out that combating poverty and hunger should be on the global agenda," Islamic Development Bank Vice President Birama Sidibe said in a statement released by the IFAD during its annual meeting, which this year was held in Saudi Arabia.
"Rural infrastructure is important in poverty reduction. The Islamic Development Bank is interested in how technology can make a difference in alleviating poverty and hunger.”
Ministers of finance, economy and planning from 56 Islamic Development Bank member states attended the meeting. The bank, a Saudi-based development financing institution, is partnered with the IFAD.
The Islamic Development Bank member states include Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Qatar, Iran and Turkey.
The IFAD’s 2011 Rural Poverty Report stated that that small farms could help lift millions out of poverty if they are supported by the international community.
About 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas in developing countries, but only 4 percent of official development assistance goes to agriculture.
“Increasing productivity alone is not enough to solve the issue of food security. We must invest in in all areas of sustainable agriculture,” said Lassine Bouare, Mali’s finance minister.
In 2009, both the IFAD and the Islamic Development Bank signed a co-financing agreement worth $1.5 billion for 26 priority poverty-reduction programs in many of the bank’s member states.
In April, the IFAD invested $5.3 billion of its own resources in 372 projects designed to enable poor rural families to escape poverty and achieve food security.
(Eman El-Shenawi, a writer at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: email@example.com.)