The Islamic Development Bank has approved finances worth $ 275 million for a number of agricultural and water projects in some member countries in Africa as part of its efforts to ensure food security and boost development.
Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of the bank, said: “The amount is allocated exclusively for the development of agriculture, livestock and water supplies in the rural areas of Cameroon, Chad, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Togo.
“These allocations were part of the largest ever development financing approvals given by a single session of the bank’s board of directors, which amounted to $ 1,158 million.”
Mohamed Ali said the bank supports the member countries in combating poverty, especially in the least developed member countries, by increasing investment in these countries and utilizing their natural resources.
The IDB chief emphasized the need to ensure food security to fight poverty.
He added: “According to a recent study by the IDB, the world is expected to witness continued fluctuation in food prices for a few more years to come.”
The study warns that the impact of hunger caused by global price fluctuations would undermine the development process in developing and least-developed IDB member countries.
Mohamed Ali reiterated IDB’s resolve to promote agricultural and food projects in member countries with the objective of balancing the effect of unstable prices and its negative impact on the poor. He added: “Some of the major steps taken in this direction were the Jeddah Declaration of the board of governors in 2008 allocating $ 1.5 billion through a five-year assistance program to restore food security in African member countries.”
Another major step was the $ 4 billion five-year Special Program for the Development of Africa (SPDA) adopted by the board of governors in 2008 under the “Ouagadougou Declaration.”
The program focuses on improving crop productivity, water supplies, transportation infrastructure, power generation, educational investment and financing health projects.
Mohamed Ali said: “The core goal of SPDA is to support infrastructure and remove the restrictions that hinder development in Africa.”
An important intervention of the SPDA is in improving crop productivity of small farms in Sub-Saharan Africa, under which IDB provided $ 58.5 million for improvement of crop cultivation in small farms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Mali and Niger.
The bank also approved $ 52.4 million for a livestock and fisheries project in the northwestern region of Cameroon. It gave $ 40 million for the rice value chain development project in the plain of Chari-Lagone in Chad.
The president said: “These projects are expected to support the economic development of these countries by helping them to improve food security, crop productivity and betterment of the farmers’ living standards.”
Other recent IDB financing to support the agriculture sector include: $ 30 million for increased rice production in Uganda, $ 47.2 million for Dhar rural water supply project in Mauritania, $ 21 million for phase two of the integrated rural development project in the District of Kita, $ 2 million for the Millennium Villages Program in Mali and $ 12 million for a rural water supply project in Togo.