Posted by: APO | 22 May 2008

ADB-IFAD Consultations Open in Tunis

ADB-IFAD Consultations Open in Tunis


Tunis, Thursday, 22 May – High-level consultations on increased cooperation between the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development opened in Tunis today.


The two-day talks are designed to examine ways the two institutions can improve cooperation to ensure that their agricultural projects in Africa are more effective.


The two sides will during their “retreat” lay the ground for the development of joint programmes over the next two years. Their meeting is also expected to produce joint strategies and work plans.


Speaking at the opening session, AfDB Vice President (OSVP) Zeinab El Bakri urged the two institutions to cooperate in the transformation of African agriculture to ensure it can meet the continent’s food requirements.


“This partnership is becoming even more important today with the soaring world food prices which have adversely affected the poor and fragile countries across the world, but more seriously those in Africa,” she said.


Key to the transformation of African agriculture, Ms. El Bakri said, was the supply of critical inputs to African farmers.


“We need to address the issues of fertilizer, seeds and other key inputs to boost productivity and production in the shortest possible time,” she said. “We have to transform African agriculture if it is to provide food security for the increasing population, especially in urban areas.”


She said the challenges created by the global food crisis, the energy crisis and accelerating climate change could be transformed into real opportunities for African farmers, if they are given the necessary support.


Ms El Bakri, who is co-chairing the meeting, said such support should enable them to make the shift from merely scraping for livelihoods to creating sustainable agricultural businesses.


She said the ADB was also keen to help African member countries deal with issues of economic vulnerability by providing budget and balance of payments support, especially to fragile states. She said the ADB had created a multidisciplinary task force to deal to work on various aspects of the issue.


Mr. Kevin Cleaver, IFAD’s Assistant President for Programme Management and the meeting’s co-chair, said the partnership between the two institutions had great potential, adding: “My expectations are great.”


He, however, noted that the two institutions would have to adjust some of their “operational modalities” to ensure effective cooperation and that African countries truly benefited from this cooperation.


Mr. Cleaver urged the two institutions to adapt their programmes to country systems. This, he said, should help make their interventions on the continent more effective.


The retreat, which is being held at the Sheraton in Tunis, closes Friday.


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