Egypt and IFAD strengthen partnership to reduce rural poverty and promote resilience in desert environments

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Egypt and IFAD strengthen partnership to reduce rural poverty and promote resilience in desert environments

Rome, 3 October 2019 – The President of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert F. Houngbo, will meet with H.E. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, during a four-day visit to the country from 6 to 9 October to discuss IFAD’s ongoing investments and to pave the way for a strengthened partnership towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the visit, Houngbo will also meet with high-level Government officials and representatives of other UN agencies based in Egypt, with the purpose of exploring further opportunities to reduce poverty and accelerate rural development by providing employment for rural youth, empowering women, improving food security and nutrition and building small farmers’ resilience to climate change.

Agriculture is a vital sector of Egypt’s economy, providing livelihoods for 55 per cent of the population and directly employing 29 per cent of the labour force. Farming is also a vibrant source of exports and foreign exchange. IFAD is supporting the Government of Egypt in achieving its national plans, especially in the agriculture sector. IFAD interventions have already covered some 65 per cent of reclaimed lands.

"Egypt is the largest recipient of our financial assistance in the Near East and North Africa with US$1.11 billion invested to date. It is also one of the first member countries to receive IFAD financing. Our partnership recorded more than four decades of successful human stories and achievements in rural development", said Khalida Bouzar, IFAD’s Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division.

She added, "IFAD has shown its comparative advantage in targeting vulnerable farmers and promoting resilience in desert environments. Long-term field presence equipped with unique expertise in rural development have improved the sustainability and impact of our projects.”

During his stay, Houngbo will visit two IFAD-supported projects in Upper and Lower Egypt and meet the projects’ participants to see first-hand how IFAD interventions have improved their lives. The Promotion of Rural Incomes through Market Enhancement Project covers seven governorates and is benefitting 50,000 rural households by integrating them into agricultural value chains. The On-farm Irrigation Development Project in Oldlands supports efficient use of water resources, which are threatened by climate change, industrialization, increasing pollution and poor water management. Project investments are generating seasonal and part-time work for more than 21,000 poor rural men and women.  

IFAD began operations in Egypt in 1977 and so far has implemented 14 projects, investing nearly $520 million and directly benefitting approximately 1.2 million households. Currently, the ongoing portfolio comprises three projects for a total of about $300 million. An agreement for a fourth investment project worth $80 million has been recently signed.


IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub.