IFAD opens office in Egypt to serve as rural development center for seven countries
The IFAD new regional office covers Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, some of which suffer from conflicts, poverty and food insecurity.IFAD | Cairo | Updated: 07-10-2019 22:16 IST | Created: 07-10-2019 22:16 IST
The United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) opened a regional office in Cairo today that will serve as a strategic rural development center for its work to reduce poverty, empower women and youth, and create employment opportunities in seven countries across the region, IFAD's President Gilbert F. Houngbo stated at the event.
In addition to IFAD's President, those in attendance at today's ceremony included Sahar Nasr, the Egyptian Minister of Investments and International Cooperation, Richard Dictus, the UN Resident Coordinator, Khalida Bouzar, IFAD's Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe (NEN), Dina Saleh, Regional Office Director, and other IFAD staff.
"The opening of the Regional Office in Cairo marks a key milestone in the long-standing cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and IFAD," said Khalida Bouzar, IFAD's Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa, Central Asia, and Europe Division. "Over more than four decades of strategic partnership and fruitful collaboration, IFAD and Egypt have financed 14 projects totaling about US$1.11 billion, reaching over 7 million rural people."
Bouzar added, "IFAD-funded programs and projects in Egypt are aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals and the country's agriculture and rural development strategies. The interventions will galvanize rural development, empower rural women, increase employment opportunities for rural youth, and leverage private investments with the main aim of reducing rural poverty and enhancing national food security."
In Egypt, IFAD investments have supported the settlement of land reclaimed from the desert in the Newlands in Lower Egypt and improved productivity in the old lands in the Nile valley and Upper Egypt. IFAD has also helped in enabling more sustainable use of natural resources, promoted climate-smart strategies, and leveraged opportunities provided by the expanding private sector involvement in agriculture.
"The regional office in Cairo will reinforce our portfolio across the region and enhance our fruitful partnerships with governments including Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen," said Dina Saleh, IFAD's MENA Regional Office Director. "Cairo is our strategic choice to boost the pace of our successful partnership with Egypt. We are proud that Egypt is the largest recipient of our financial assistance in the MENA region, and was one of the first member countries to receive IFAD financing. The office will enable us to serve IFAD's portfolio in the region in a more cost-effective way and to create a South-South corridor for sharing valuable experiences."
The Cairo regional office manages an investment portfolio of 18 ongoing projects amounting to $1.06 billion reaching millions of rural people.
IFAD began operations in Egypt in 1980 and has implemented 14 projects, investing nearly $520 million from its own resources and leveraging an additional $500 million, directly benefitting approximately 1.2 million households. Currently, three projects are ongoing and another agreement has been signed.