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IFAD and the Republic of Korea strengthen partnership to boost living standards and food supplies for the rural poor

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Rome, 8 May 2014 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed an agreement today with Korea’s Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) to strengthen their collaborative efforts to eliminate rural poverty and increase food security throughout the developing world.

The agreement between IFAD and KEXIM includes new mechanisms for project financing and sharing technical expertise in programs designed to raise productivity and living standards in poor farming communities in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by IFAD Vice-President Michel Mordasini and KEXIM Vice-President Seop Shim. The agreement between IFAD and KEXIM was concluded on the eve of the Fund’s first “Asia Learning Series” forum, on 9 May, which is aimed at promoting better understanding and sharing of successful rural development strategies across the region.

"Today's agreement deepens IFAD's longstanding collaboration with our Korean partners and will help us work together to share lessons from their rural development experience in other countries in Asia, as well as elsewhere in the world," Mordasini said.

The Republic of Korea is a founding member of IFAD. Its post-war transformation from a low-income, largely rural society into Asia’s fourth-largest economy is internationally regarded as a model for national planning and development. It is also an important emerging aid donor, nearly doubling its annual international development assistance from US$820 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2012, according to OECD figures.

Among the projects supported by the Republic of Korea and IFAD is an initiative to give indigenous women in India access to market prices, weather updates, and job opportunities and other through mobile telephones. Similar projects are being introduced in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

The Asia Learning Series forum will examine Korea's development lessons for other Asian nations in a panel discussion with IFAD Asia-Pacific Regional Director Hoonae Kim and the Rome-based ambassadors of Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam and the former Korean Ambassador to the OECD. During the forum Hoonae Kim will emphasize specific challenges Asian countries face such as climate change and rising commodity prices.

"The most acute poverty in Asia is still found in the countryside,” Hoonae Kim said about the focus of the forum. “The goal of IFAD's partnerships in the Republic of Korea is to work together to help poor rural communities prosper, and become not only self-sufficient in food production, but the ultimate provider of food security for their countries and the region as a whole."

Press release No.: IFAD/30/2014

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$15.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects reaching approximately 430 million people and helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 173 members from developing countries, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).