TOGO – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations has announced the reappointment of Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, a senior official and former Prime Minister of Togo, as its head for a second term.

IFAD’s board of governors, the Fund’s main decision-making body, has renewed its trust in him, for a second four-year term. Gilbert has headed the Rome-based institution since 2017.

Not long after he was reappointed, the Togolese announced, on social networks that he would focus, during his new term, on consolidating actions undertaken in the first.

“My first priority will be the consolidation of the reforms carried out over the past four years so that IFAD’s path towards doubling its impact by 2030 becomes irreversible,” he said on Twitter.

Also, he informed that emphasis would be put on Covid-induced challenges, and global disturbances. Through his second mandate, the appointee will also give special attention to technological solutions, innovative financing models, and new partnerships with the private sector.

“As the pandemic continues to devastate rural areas and increased poverty and hunger are predicted, it is more urgent than ever for IFAD to shift into high gear,” said Gilbert Houngbo.

“Today is Covid-19. Yesterday was a tsunami and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. But the threat of climate change and weather disasters has not diminished. We have to prepare. No rural woman or man should ever be forced to sell their meager assets – or to emigrate – just to survive,” he added.

For achieving this goal, Dr. Houngbo called upon the donors to significantly contribute to the IFAD for carrying out a comprehensive program with at least US$11 billion from 2022 to 2024, for better economies that can face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

Another of Houngbo’s goals is to address the major challenges rural young people face in finding decent employment, which has an enormous impact on instability and migration.

“My first priority will be the consolidation of the reforms carried out over the past four years so that IFAD’s path towards doubling its impact by 2030 becomes irreversible.”

Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo

In Africa, 60 percent of young people live in rural areas and between 10 and 12 million young people enter the job market every year.

Over the past four years since Dr. Houngbo has been elected as IFAD president in 2017, IFAD targeted 36 percent more poor and vulnerable people.

At the end of 2019, 132 million people in more than 90 countries benefited from IFAD’s investments.

However, in his speech, Houngbo recognized the huge financing gap threatening the world’s ability to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Hisham Badr, Egypt’s Ambassador to Rome, has confirmed that the country has retained its seat on the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Executive Council for the new 2021-2024 term.

IFAD’s Board of Governors has approved the election of the new membership for the Executive Council.

As a reminder, in Togo, IFAD supports many structuring initiatives set to develop the agricultural sector, in particular, the risk-sharing Agricultural Financing Incentive Mechanism (MIFA), and the National Rural Entrepreneurship Project (PNPER), which was renewed in 2020, thanks to good performance.

Based in Rome (Italy), IFAD was in 2020 the first United Nations fund to receive a Fitch credit rating and Standard and Poor’s both having announced AA + ratings.

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