Strong national investment plans enable progress of a continental agricultural policy agenda for Africa

The President of IFAD, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, arrived in Ethiopia at the invitation of Kofi Annan (former Secretary General of the UN) on the morning of 25th November. The President  is attending a two day meeting, hosted by the African Union, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the Kofi Annan Foundation on “Harnessing Innovation for African Agriculture and Food Systems: Meeting the Challenges and Designing for the 21st Century.” 

The President took the first part of the day, before the AU meeting, to meet with senior officials of the Government of Ethiopia. Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, first met with the Hon. Sileshi Getahun, the State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and in the afternoon, he met with the Hon. Ahmed Shide, the State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, to re-affirm IFAD’s partnership with the Ethiopian Government. He was accompanied by his adviser Luis Jimminez-Micinnis, the Representative and Country Director, Robson Mutandi, and the Country Programme Officer, Abebe Zelahun. 
This visit came on the heels of the successful negotiations in Rome, between IFAD and the Government, for a USD 85 million loan to the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, to finance the Phase III of the Pastoral Community Development Programme. Pastoralists and agro-pastoralists make up nearly 15 per cent of Ethiopia's total population and are among the poorest and most vulnerable rural people in the country. The Programme, co-financed with the World Bank and Government, brings about a total investment of USD 217 million to improve pastoral communities’ livelihoods, access to basic services and capacity to cope with external shocks.  The Ethiopia Country Programme is IFAD’s largest investment in Africa.

The President observed that the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia are a classic example of good governance and leadership. “Ethiopia’s wise investments in Agriculture, and particularly in smallholder agriculture, has brought about consistent economic growth, with a GDP that has ranged from 9 to 11 % over recent years, driven by a strong investment plan. Such strong national investment plans are key to enabling the progress of a cohesive continental agricultural policy agenda for Africa.”

Hon. Shide emphasized that Ethiopia remains committed to inclusive development, which makes sure that everyone benefits from growth. Currently, the policy efforts of the Government of Ethiopia strive to develop the rural poor’s resilience to cope with repeated cycles of drought by ensuring every household has access to at least one water source so that they may be able to produce a continuous crop. Furthermore, the Government supports the rural poor by providing agricultural inputs, investing heavily in infrastructure to promote trade and enhance access to markets, and building rural institutions. Both Ministers reiterated their satisfaction with the level of cooperation between IFAD and the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, and called for even stronger ties between the two partners and increased investments into smallholder agriculture in Ethiopia.

Hon. Sileshi Getahun, the State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Develoment, welcomes Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the President of IFAD.

Hon. Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance an Economic Development, met with the President of IFAD to discuss ongoing cooperation between IFAD and the Government of Ethiopia.