IDB Plays Increased Role in Agriculture and Food Security of African Member Countries
According to a recent study by the IDB, the world is expected to witness continued fluctuation in food commodity prices for a few more years to come. The study cautions that the impact of hunger as a result of the global price fluctuations is likely to undermine the development process in its developing and least developed member countries. In a recent statement, the IDB Group President Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali reiterated IDB’s resolve to continue promoting agriculture and food security in IDB Member Countries with the objective of balancing the effect of unstable prices and its negative impact on the poor.
It is in this context that one has to view the recent substantial project financing approvals by the IDB Board of Directors, amounting to US$ 275 million exclusively for funding development of agriculture, livestock and water supplies in rural areas in a number of African Member Countries including Cameroon, Chad, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Togo. This approval was part of the largest ever development financing approvals accorded by one session of the Board of IDB for US$1,158 million.
The Bank is continuously striving to support the member countries to combat poverty especially in the least developed member countries by addressing the global food crisis, especially by increasing investment in markets and utilizing natural resources, which, many African member countries are endowed with. Some of the major steps in this direction taken in the past were the Jeddah Declaration of the Board of Governors in 2008 allocating US$ 1.5 billion through a 5-year assistance program to restore food security in African member countries. Another major step was the US$ 4 billion, five-year Special Program for the Development of Africa (SPDA) adopted by the Governors in 2008 under the “Ouagadougou Declaration” to focus on 6 major areas namely; improving crops productivity, water supplies, transportation infrastructure, power generation, educational investment and financing health projects”. According to the IDB President, “the core of SPDA is to support infrastructure and remove the restrictions which hinder development in Africa”.
An important intervention of the SPDA is in improving crops productivity of small farms in Sub-Saharan Africa under which IDB provided US$ 58.5 million for improvement of crops cultivation in small farms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Mali and Niger. In the same vein, the Bank has also approved US$ 52.4 million for a livestock and fisheries project in north western region of Cameroon; and US$ 40 million for the “Rice Value Chain Development Project in the plain of Chari-Lagone” in Chad. These projects are expected to support the economic development of these countries by helping them to improve food security, crops productivity and betterment of the farmers’ living standards.
Other recent IDB financing for supporting the agriculture sector include; “US$ 30 million for increased Rice Production in Uganda”, “US$ 47.2 million for Dhar Rural Water Supply Project”, Mauritania, “US$ 21 million for the phase-2 of the Integrated Rural Development Project in the District of Kita” and “US$ 2 million for Millennium Villages Program”, both in Mali, as well as “US$ 12 million for a Rural Water Supply Project in Togo”.