CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The OPEC Fund for International Development has issued a US$60 million loan to Côte d’Ivoire in support of the Northern Agro-Industrial Pole Project (2 PAI-Nord), geared towards financing the development of high-potential geographical areas called agricultural growth poles or Agropoles.
Co-financed with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the 2PAI-Nord project aims improve food and nutritional security by reducing the dependence on food imports and increasing the export of highly competitive agricultural products.
It will support 65,000 vulnerable family-farming households, benefiting nearly 400,000 people, specifically women and youth, with limited access to food and markets.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for two-thirds of households in Côte d’Ivoire, accounting for more than 20 percent of GDP.
In addition, up to 1.2 million people in neighbouring regions will benefit from investments in basic road and social infrastructure.
Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General, OPEC Fund said, ”Côte d’Ivoire’s medium to long-term agricultural development strategy will help realize the sector’s potential, reducing imports and increasing exports.
“Growing prosperity will also translate into better living conditions for many communities. We are pleased to partner with AfDB and extend our support to the government of Côte d’Ivoire to strengthen food security.”
Although Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading producer of cocoa and a major exporter of raw cashew nuts, the processing of agricultural products remains negligible and the country depends on agricultural imports.
2 PAI-Nord aims to support and increase the mobilization of private investment, particularly in processing agricultural products like rice, meat and fish, cashews, mango and shea, and facilitate farmers’ access to markets, reducing the dependency on agricultural imports in the four northern provinces Bagoué, Hambol, Poro and Tchologo.
Overall, 2 PAI-NORD will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to poverty, hunger, gender equality, equity and climate change.
Meanwhile in Lesotho, the OPEC Fund for International Development has issued its US$19m support towards the country’s “Regeneration of Landscape and Livelihood Project” (ROLL).
Roll is expected to benefit rural communities in the southern Africa country, whose economy is largely based on agriculture with 70 per cent of rural households depending on it.
The goal of ROLL is for rural communities to adopt transformational practices for regenerated landscapes and sustainable livelihoods.
For this, the program aims at adapting practices of using resources, the reduction of environmental degradation, the improvement of livelihoods, and securing funding for landscape regeneration.
The project will be rolled out in northern, north-western, central and southern regions of Lesotho, covering around 2,240 villages and directly benefitting 100,000 people corresponding to 68,000 rural households, and indirectly reach approximately 340,000 people.
Out of these, 40 percent will be women and 20 percent young people who are expected to particularly benefit from the creation of new income generating activities.
By issuing the loan, OPEC Fund joins IFAD, the Global Environment Facility, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the government of Lesotho and others in support of the program.