Rome, 27 January 2003 - A loan agreement was signed today at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) headquarters by H.E. M. Souhaïb Deen Bangoura, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea to IFAD, and by Mr. Lennart Båge, President of IFAD. The loan, in an amount of USD 12.5 million, will help fund the 'Sustainable Agriculture Development Project in the Forest Region', with a total cost of USD 15 million.
Although Guinea has a wealth of natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Poverty in the forest region is mainly due to low agricultural productivity, few wage earning opportunities, lack of access to financial services and limited rural infrastructure. Community organization is weak, service delivery is ineffective and the lack of resources further contributes to poverty in the area.
The project area will cover Beyla, Nzerekore, Macenta, Lola and Yomou prefectures in the forest region. The target group comprises villages and communities focusing on the most vulnerable groups: women, young people and disabled persons. The beneficiaries mainly engage in subsistence agriculture on marginal land characterized by high levels of soil degradation and they rely mostly on dry farming activities for their livelihood.
The objective of the project is to improve the incomes and living conditions of poor rural people in the forest region through the organization of rural communities/villages with a view to ensuring sustainable agricultural development. To that end, the project will provide technical and financial assistance for community restructuring; microprojects aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and environmental protection; rehabilitating wells and feeder roads; developing a system for distributing agricultural inputs. Participation at the community level will be ensured whereby each village will design its own development action plan with assistance from the project and will be responsible for implementation. In this manner, the capacity of communities will be strengthened.
With this project, IFAD will have financed 10 projects in the Republic of Guinea, for a total loan amount of USD 117 124 million.