International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD


The International Fund of Agriculture Development (IFAD) is a special agency of the United Nations and one of the International Financial Institutions.

IFAD was founded in 1977 and has 177 members.

Germany was one of the founding members.

IFAD is currently active in 96 countries with about 210 measures, reaching about 123 million people.

The main focus is on the African continent (IFAD12 (2022-24)foresees that 55% of the funds will go to Africa).

Tasks and objectives

The focus areas are agriculture, climate, nutrition, gender, and rural youth employment.

The narrowly focused mandate includes

  • The promotion of smallholder agriculture,
  • support for rural development,
  • food security and
  • rural poverty alleviation.

IFAD supports the fight against the causes of displacement and advocates for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, in particular sustainable poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2) reduction.

IFAD is an International Financial Institution with the business of financing investments in rural development.

It mainly provides loans at concessional rates or grants as well as advisory services in this sector.

The focus is on

  • improving the sustainable productive capacity of the rural poor;
  • improving the rural poor's access to financial services, markets, technologies, land, with a special focus on women and youth; and
  • strengthening environmental sustainability and climate Adaptation.

IFAD was the first UN institution to undergo a credit rating process in 2020 and achieved an excellent result of “AA+”.

Comprehensive structural reforms in finance and risk management are now enabling IFAD to broaden its funding base, increase its programme portfolio and focus its particularly concessional resources on the poorest countries (low-income and lower middle-income countries).

IFAD is advancing institutional reforms, increasing its collaboration with the other Rome-based agriculture and food organizations (FAO, WFP), and strengthening its in-country presence (Decentralization 2.0) in the context of UN reform.

Also given its particular focus on impact and results measurement, IFAD 2021 was ranked first out of more than 40 development organizations by the Center of Global Development in the quality of its support.

Institutional structure

The Fund has two main bodies:

Governing Council

Each member state appoints a governor. The Governing Council is the highest decision-making body.

It meets once a year (February) and is responsible, among other things, for the election of the IFAD President and the IFAD budget.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, the budget, and approving thematic and country strategies and projects/programs.

It is composed of 18 Executive Directors and their respective representatives.

The Executive Board meets three times a year.

It is supported, among others, by the Finance (Audit) and Evaluation Committees, which meet regularly.


IFAD is financed by voluntary contributions pledged for three years at a time (replenishment rounds), by recoveries from previous loans, borrowing on the financial market, and program-linked special contributions.

For some years, member states (including Germany) have supplemented their contributions with loans.

The 12th replenishment round (IFAD12) covers the period 2022-2024, for which about $1.2 billion has been pledged so far by 94 donors (including developing countries), providing IFAD with a loan and grant program of about $3.5 billion.

More than 23 countries increased their pledges to IFAD11 by 40 percent or more in the process, another 13 countries doubled their pledges, while 13 countries committed funds that had not done so in IFAD11.

Together with special programs for climate and private sector finance, and cofinancing from national and international partners, IFAD hopes to implement a program volume of more than $10 billion for the IFAD12 period.

Programme implementation

Program allocation decisions are made using the Performance Based Allocation System (PBAS) based on numerous criteria and international markers.

These include

  • the country's performance, development orientation, need, and absorption capacity,
  • the number of rural impoverished population,
  • the assessment of development-friendly conditions in the rural development sector,
  • and vulnerability

and other indicators.

The regional focus in IFAD 12 is on Africa (regional target: 55%).

IFAD and Germany

  • With a core contribution of around 89 million euros, Germany is one of the largest contributors to IFAD12. In addition, there is programme funding, for example in 2020 for a programme to deal with the consequences of the pandemic for smallholder farms and in the area of climate adaptation.
  • Since August 2020, Germany has provided a vice president at IFAD, Dominik Ziller.
  • As of 2022, the Governor for Germany on the Governing Council is Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • As a leading donor, the German government provides one of 18 executive directors on the 18-member Executive Board, Ronald Meyer, and is also represented on the influential Finance Committee.
  • In July 2016, BMZ agreed on a Strategic Partnership (Joint Declaration) with IFAD to advance joint investments and development strategies for rural areas.
  • Cooperation also takes place by sector and on a project-by-project basis, such as globally in pandemic response ($27 million) or climate change adaptation ($20 million), bilateral program co-financing (e.g., fisheries in Eritrea, $10 million), the creation of extension tools, or the establishment of an agricultural risk management platform.
  • The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also supports the International Land Coalition, which is hosted by IFAD and works for land rights worldwide.
  • Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW Förderbank), which had already provided a €400 million development loan to IFAD in 2017, has agreed to provide another €400 million development loan at the end of 2021. The promotional loan will be a crucial building block for IFAD to focus its most concessional funds on less developed countries.
  • The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) signed an agreement with IFAD in October 2019 for global program-related cooperation and is cooperating with IFAD in various thematic Areas.

as of September 2022

IFAD President
Alvaro Lario (Spain), since September 2022

International Fund for Agricultural Development
Via Paolo di Dono, 44
00142 - Rome, Italy
Internet: https://www.ifad.org/en/

Top of page