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40. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ー COVID-19 Response Targeting African Agriculture and the Rural Poor

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The COVID-19 pandemic is a major blow to African agriculture and farmers. The International Agricultural Development Fund (IFAD) published a blog entitled “COVID-19 response must target African agriculture and the rural poor", co-authored by IFAD Special Envoys, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia who are bothengaged in mobilizing support and advocate for greater investment in rural areas in Africa.

Here are some excerpts from the blog:

Although Africa has so far escaped the worst health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like it could be the worst hit from the economic fallout of the crisis and 80 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty due to disruptions in the food system. In this crisis, the international development agenda that prioritizes on health, economics and infrastructure must also focus on food security, agribusiness and rural development. 

According to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, growth rate would drop from 3.2% to 1.8% in 2020 due to lockdownswhich are disrupting inter-regional trade and affects food transport, shrinking the export market not only for food importing countries but also for farmers. As the African governments define stimulus measures to mitigate the national and regional economic impact of COVID-19, it must be considered that investment in agriculture is more than five times as effective in reducing poverty as investment in other areas. Investing in rural small-scale farming is critical to maintaining regional food security, the lives of the most vulnerable, and poverty reduction and wealth creation.

In April, IFAD launched a multi-donor COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) fund to provide basic inputs to small-scale farmers holders and fishermen, help them access markets and maintain cash flow. In the long term, this pandemic underscores the need for Africa to transform agriculture and agribusiness to ensure inclusive economic growth, wealth generation and greater resilience.

The full text of the blog is available here



COVID-19 response must target African agriculture and the rural poor.  May 14, 2020. By Olusegun Obasanjo, and Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)