Gilbert F. Houngbo, the former prime minister of Togo who has served as president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) since 2017, was on Wednesday appointed to a second four-year term at the helm of the Rome-based organization.
The second term, which will run through early 2025, was confirmed by the organization’s annual Governing Council meeting in the day.
IFAD is focused on reducing rural hunger and poverty in poor countries, especially those impacted by extreme events such as climate change or the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement announcing Houngbo’s reappointment, IFAD said its goal is to “double its impact by 2030” by ensuring “40 million people per year increase their incomes by at least 20 percent” by the start of the next decade.
In the same statement, Houngbo said IFAD would not be deterred by the challenges it faces.”With the pandemic still devastating rural areas and the projections for increased poverty and hunger, the need for IFAD to scale up is more urgent than ever,” Houngbo said.
“Today it is COVID, yesterday it was a tsunami, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.” He went on: “The threat from climate change and extreme weather will not diminish, and we should prepare,” he said. “No rural woman or man should ever be in a position of having to sell his or her meager assets or be forced to migrate in order to survive.”
IFAD is one of three United Nations organizations based in Rome, along with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, headed by former Chinese Vice-minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Qu Dongyu, and the World Food Program, which is led by David Beasley, the former governor of South Carolina in the United States.