Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, UN Agricultural Fund to Fight Hunger and Poverty in Rural Areas

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By Misheck Nyirongo

Cassa Depositi and Prestiti (CDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) agreed on 29th November, 2022 – Tuesday to work jointly to expand and amplify the impact of long-term rural development programmes of common interest which will help lift the world’s poorest rural populations out of hunger and poverty and adapt to a changing climate.

The CDP-IFAD co-financing framework for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Ecosystems (SAFE) signed will enable CDP to co-finance IFAD projects during the period 2022-2024 and beyond to contrast poverty, support the economic development of rural areas and protect natural resources in countries of strategic interest to the Italian development cooperation system.

“The agreement signed with IFAD expands CDP’s spectrum of action – in coordination with the other players in the national cooperation system – to a series of initiatives capable of concretely impact the rural development of countries with which Italy can build lasting and profitable economic relationships” declared Dario Scannapieco, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of CDP who signed the agreement.

“As highlighted in our Sectoral Strategic Guidelines on International Cooperation, financing development projects on a global scale in strategic sectors such as, for example, agri-tech or the management of water resources, and support fundamental goals such as the fight against poverty and the effects of climate change, means contributing to a more equitable development and creating greater growth opportunities at a global level.”

“I am thrilled to sign this agreement with CDP which will have a multiplier effect on the impact and scope of our projects fighting hunger and poverty. We need to act now as the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemics, high food and fertilizers prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine and the acceleration of climate change threaten to push back the development progress of recent decades,” said IFAD President Alvaro Lario.

“This agreement builds on the strong collaboration between Italy and IFAD, Italy’s forward-looking development cooperation systems pulling together key public and private institutions and the unique nature and mandate of IFAD as an international financial institution and specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries,” added IFAD President Alvaro Lario.

Small-scale farmers from developing countries provide one third of the world food and about 80% of the food produced in Africa and Asia. They are essential to food security. Yet, they are often the first to suffer from hunger and poverty. About 80% of the world’s poorest people live in the rural areas of developing countries.

The CDP co-financing will be in the form of loans granted directly to countries borrowing from IFAD and financing IFAD supported projects. IFAD invests to help small-scale farmers boost their production, improve their agricultural practices, adapt to climate change, and access markets and value chains.

IFAD investments also support the development of rural Small-and Medium Size enterprises. Between 2019 to 2021, IFAD investments improved the incomes of 77.4 million rural people by at least 10 percent; about 62 million rural people saw their production rise and 64 million rural people improved their access to markets. In addition, IFAD helped 38 million people bolster their resilience.

Despite the recent profound economic and geopolitical changes, in the first ten months of 2022 the CDP Group committed resources of EUR 24.5 billion (+ EUR 5 billion compared to the same period of the previous year) laying the groundwork to exceed the goals of the Strategic Plan 2022-2024.

For the three-year period, the Plan calls for a total commitment of EUR 65 billion, including EUR 21 billion for Public Administration and infrastructure and EUR 34 billion for business and internationalization, with the ability to attract EUR 63 billion from third parties and activate a total of EUR 128 billion in investments.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 518 million people.

CDP is the Italian National Promotional Institution and the Financial Institution for International Development Cooperation entrusted by the Italian State to foster the sustainable development of Italy and of developing countries and emerging markets.

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