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Monday, 10 April 2017

Investing In Rural Youth, priority for IFAD President

Ensuring young people in rural areas can access financing and earn decent incomes is essential to stem migration to Europe and elsewhere, said Gilbert F. Houngbo, who began his term as the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today. IFAD is a specialized United Nations agency and international financial institution, which invests in eradicating rural poverty and hunger in developing countries. Houngbo - who has extensive experience in political affairs, international development and financial management, including a term as Prime Minister of Togo - takes up the helm at a crucial time. Changing government priorities and numerous global emergencies, such as the 20 million people currently facing starvation in the Horn of Africa, threaten to divert funding away from long-term development. The risk, according to Houngbo, is that without adequate investment in the world’s most vulnerable communities, there will be increased instability and conflict and people will find it harder to bounce back from shocks, giving them more reasons to flee rural areas. “I don’t want people to see life in rural areas only as a hardship and that you live there by necessity,” he said. “We need to work on those hardships so that young people can be happy in a rural setting, instead of looking to go to the capital or move outside their country.” Houngbo himself was born and raised on a small family farm in rural Togo. He says that his parents’ focus on earning an income through growing and selling crops, even in difficult times, enabled him to receive an education and move out of poverty. “My understanding of the economic side of food production goes back to when I was in primary school,” he said. “Food security and nutrition are essential, but we have to go beyond that and really aim at the fight against poverty and look at agriculture as a decent income-generating activity.”

Source: Prweb