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Rural Mauritanians set to benefit from nearly $18 million in UN loans and grants

Article / Review by on November 3, 2011 – 6:35 pmNo Comments

Rural Mauritanians set to benefit from nearly $18 million in UN loans and grants

3 November 2011

The United Nations agency helping the rural poor announced today it is awarding almost $18 million in loans and grants to Mauritania to boost the incomes and living conditions of thousands of people in the arid country.

IFAD President Kanayo F. NwanzeIFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze

The funding will be used to help rural households – more than half of Mauritanians are employed in agriculture – to significantly increase their production, according to a press release issued by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The $17.9 million in loans and grants will also be used to create jobs for young people, help women acquire access to economic opportunities and improve food security for local communities.

IFAD said an estimated 21,000 households, women and young people stand to benefit from the latest phase of the project, which began in 2002 in an area of Mauritania known as the “poverty triangle.”

The agency’s President Kanayo F. Nwanze signed the agreement for the funding with Mauritania’s Economic Affairs Minister, Sidi Ould Bebaha Ould Tah, at a ceremony in Rome, where IFAD is based.

Created in 1978, IFAD has invested more than $115 million in Mauritania in the years since then through a series of programmes and projects targeting at least 180,000 households.


US$ 17.9 million IFAD loan and grant to boost the agricultural sector in Mauritania

Rome, 3 November 2011 – A US$17.9 million loan and grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to Islamic Republic of Mauritania will help to improve the incomes and the living conditions of poor rural households depending on agriculture, the United Nations rural poverty agency has announced.

The loan and grant agreements for the second phase of the Poverty Reduction project in Aftout South and Karakoro regions were signed today in Rome by Sidi Ould Bebaha Ould Tah, Minister for Economic Affairs and Development of Mauritania, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

Agriculture, livestock and fishing are the main source of income for the people of Mauritania. While the country’s agriculture is fragile due to recurrent drought and the desertification, the sector employs more than 56 per cent of the country’s population.

During this second phase of the project, the Government of Mauritania and IFAD will work together to boost the potential of the agriculture sector by enabling vulnerable rural households to significantly increase their production, part of which will be used to improve their food security; to create jobs for young people in agriculture, and other related occupations. The project will also focus on capacity-building activities to help women to acquire access to new economic opportunities and responsibilities within the rural organizations.

The project will build on the accomplishments of the first phase, which began in 2002 in an area known in Mauritania as the “poverty triangle”. During this time, the percentage of households suffering from periodic food shortage decreased and improvements increased such as the status of children’s nutrition, overall living conditions and basic infrastructure.

The second phase of the project will help build an economic and social fabric based on sustainable natural resource management that will be inclusive to poor rural households, particularly women and young people. More than 21,000 vulnerable rural households, women and young people will benefit from the project.

To date, IFAD will have financed 13 programmes and projects in Mauritania for a total investment of US$115.1million benefiting 181,950 households.


International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The Conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. The conference resolved that “an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries”. One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production, but structural problems relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.

IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poorest people – 1.4 billion women, children and men – live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods.

Working with rural poor people, governments, donors, non-governmental organizations and many other partners, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples’ access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.

IFAD’s mission is to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty.



> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.


* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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