International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations. Its mandate is to promote smallholder agriculture, support rural development, food security and poverty alleviation 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 about 210 measures and reaches about 100 million people.

The focus is on the African continent.

The focus is on gender, nutrition, climate and youth employment in rural Areas.

As an international financial institution specializing in financing investments in rural development, IFAD primarily provides loans at preferential conditions or grants as well as advisory services in this sector.

The focus is on

  • Improving the productive capacity of the poor in rural areas;
  • improving the access of the rural poor to financial services, markets, technologies, land, and
  • strengthening environmental sustainability and climate adaptation.

On the current agenda, the ongoing decentralisation process within the framework of UN reform and cooperation between the UN organisations based in Rome (IFAD, FAO, WFP) are of particular importance.

Institutional structure

The Fund has two main organs:

The Governing Council

Each member state appoints a governor. The Board of Governors, which is the highest decision-making body, shall consist of all the Governors.

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 ongoing operations, the budget and the approval of thematic and country strategies and projects/programmes.

It is composed of 18 Executive Directors.

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


IFAD is financed by voluntary contributions, which are promised 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.

IFAD has more than 100 donors; even the poorest developing countries contribute.

Funds are allocated through the Performance Based Allocation System (PBAS) on the basis of numerous criteria and international markers.

These include

  • performance,
  • the development orientation,
  • the needs and absorption capacity of the country,
  • the number of rural impoverished population,
  • the assessment of developmental framework conditions in the rural development sector or vulnerability.

and other indicators.

About half of the loans went to Africa in 2017 (planned for 2019: 55%) and 35% to fragile states.

For some years now, these contributions have been supplemented by loans from some members (including Germany).

In addition:

  • Programme-linked special contributions
  • Recoveries from loans

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

IFAD and Germany

  • Germany is a founding member. With a voluntary core contribution of 63,206 million euros, it is the second largest contributor to IFAD11 after the USA. In addition, 20 million euros were pledged for climate mainstreaming at COP 23 in 2017.
  • In February 2018, Mrs Cornelia Richter (former GIZ board member), a German, took over the vice president position at IFAD.
  • The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides the German governor. Germany is a member of the 18-member Executive Board and the Audit Committee.
  • In July 2016, the 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-related, including mainstreaming climate issues to support small farmers (USD 20 million), developing advisory tools, establishing a platform for agricultural risk management and initiating a fisheries project in Eritrea.
  • Additional support for the International Land Coalition has been suspended by IFAD.
  • Other ongoing projects: EUR 400 million loan to IFAD via KfW Entwicklungsbank for cooperation with middle-income countries.

As of January 2019

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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