International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD


The Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations mandated to promote rural development and smallholder agriculture in order to contribute to the achievement of food security and poverty reduction in rural Areas.


IFAD was founded in 1977 and currently has 176 members. Germany is a founding member.

Tasks and goals

IFAD is currently active in 98 countries with 210 measures, reaching about 100 million people.

The main goals of the organization are:

  • to fight poverty in rural areas;
  • to increase food security through the promotion of smallholder agriculture (80% of production in developing countries) and
  • to prevent migration and conflicts.

As an international financial institution focusing on f financing investment in rural development, IFAD provides concessional loans or grants as well as expertise in this sector.

Priority areas are

  • to increase productive capacity of poor rural people;
  • to improve the access of poor rural people to financial services, markets, technologies, land;
  • to strengthen environmental sustainability and climate adaptation.

The allocation of funds is based on the identification of respective needs as well as performance in the rural development sector.

Cross-cutting issues: Improvements in the areas of gender, food and climate must be ensured in all projects. In the future this will also apply to the topic “youth”; being youth employment the most relevant area.

Institutional structure

The fund has two main governing 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 i.a. responsible for the election of the IFAD President and the budget of IFAD.

Executive Board

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

It is composed of 18 Executive Directors.

The Executive Board usually meets three times a year. It is supported by an auditing (finance) and an evaluation committee.


IFAD is finances through voluntary contributions, which are committed for three years. For the 11th replenishment round - 2019-2021 – a volume of contributions of $ 1.2 billion is expected. IFAD has over 100 donors; even the poorest developing countries make contributions.

Since some years, these contributions are been supplemented by funds which IFAD borrows from members (including from Germany).

Additional sources of income are i.a.

  • Program-specific special contributions
  • Loans repayments

This allows IFAD to finance a program volume of over $ 1 billion per year.

IFAD and Germany

  • Germany is a founding member and the second largest following the United States.
  • In February 2018, German national Cornelia Richter (former GIZ Executive Board) took over the Vice Presidency at IFAD.
  • The German Governor comes from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which also provides the funds for IFAD. Germany is a member of the 18-member Executive Board and currently also represented in the Audit Committee.
  • The BMZ has agreed a Strategic Partnership (SP) with IFAD (signing of Joint Declaration in July 2016) to promote joint investment and development strategies for rural areas. Focal areas: value chains, climate resilience, youth employment.
  • For the 10th replenishment - 2016-2018 - Germany provided 52.3 million € as a core contribution. Further ongoing projects: a loan to IFAD through the KfW Development Bank of 400 million, as well as € 13 million for climate adaptation and € 10 million for joint projects in Eritrea, among others.

As of March 2018

IFAD President

Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo (Togo), since 1 April 2017

International Fund for Agricultural Development
Via del Serafico, 107
I - 00142 Rom, Italien
Tel.: +39 06 54591
Fax: +39 06 5043463

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