International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a special agency of the United Nations. Its mandate is to promote small-scale agriculture, support rural development, ensure food security and combat poverty in rural areas.


IFAD was founded in 1977 and has 178 members. Germany is a founding member.

Tasks and objectives

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

Its focus is on the African continent.

The priority subjects concern gender, nutrition, climate and youth employment in rural areas.

Institutional structure

The Fund has two main bodies:

The Governing Council

Each Member State appoints a Governor. The Board of Governors 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 monitoring day-to-day operations, the budget and for approving thematic and country strategies and projects/programmes.

It is composed of 18 Executive Directors.

The Executive Board meets three times a year. It is supported by an Audit (Finance) and an Evaluation Committee.


IFAD uses voluntary contributions, which are pledged for three years at a time (replenishment rounds).

The 11th replenishment round (IFAD11) covers the period 2019- 2021.

Donors have pledged slightly more than USD 1 billion for IFAD11.

One of IFAD's major donors is Germany.

IFAD has over 100 donors; the poorest developing countries also contribute. In the last few years, member states (including Germany) have supplemented their contributions with loans.

There are also:

  • Programme-based special contributions
  • Cash flows from loans

This allows a programme volume of around USD 3.5 billion for IFAD 11.

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, needs and absorption capacity,
  • the number of the rural impoverished population,
  • the evaluation of developmentally favourable framework conditions in the rural development sector
  • and vulnerability,

and other indicators.

About half of the programme funds went to Africa in 2018 and also in 2019.

IFAD and Germany

  • Germany is a founding member. With a voluntary core contribution of around 63 million euros, it is the second largest contributor to IFAD11 after the USA. In addition, there is programme funding, such as that for climate mainstreaming at COP 23 in 2017.
  • The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides the German governor. Germany is a member of the 18-member Executive Board and is represented on the Audit Committee.
  • In July 2016, BMZ agreed a Strategic Partnership (Joint Declaration) with IFAD to promote joint investments and development strategies for rural areas.
  • Cooperation is therefore also programme- and project-based, including in the area of climate to support small farmers (USD 20 million), the creation of advisory tools, the establishment of a platform for agricultural risk management or the financing of programmes (e.g. a fisheries project in Eritrea).
  • BMZ also supports the International Land Coalition, which is affiliated to IFAD.
  • The Reconstruction Credit Institute (KfW; development bank), which carries out financial cooperation on behalf of BMZ, committed a EUR 400 million promotional loan to IFAD in 2017, which is now being used for IFAD cooperation, especially with emerging countries.
  • The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), an important project-executing agency for German development cooperation, signed an agreement with IFAD in October 2019 on worldwide programme-based cooperation.

As of March 2020

IFAD President

Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo (Togo), since 1 April 2017

International Fund for Agricultural Development
Via Paolo di Dono, 44
I - 00142 Rom, Italien
Tel.: +39 06 54591
Fax: +39 06 5043463

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