He said this on the sideline of the just-concluded 3rd International Conference on Funding for Development, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said that policy attention and increased investments were essential to delivering development objectives, including adequate food, clean air, fresh water and biodiversity.
“Growth in the agricultural sector has been estimated to be, at least, three times more effective in reducing poverty as growth in any other area.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, the figure is 11 times.
“We are standing at a point of fateful decision, but between discussions around funding and goals lay billions of rural people who are trying to feed themselves,” he said.
Nwanze noted that it was not just about money but that the key to a sustainable future free of poverty and hunger is “people”.
“Given the right support, rural people can transform their own communities, while helping to secure the world’s most essential public goods, including clean air and fresh water,” he said.
Nwanze assured that IFAD, being the UN’s only international financing institution, would play a lead role in highlighting that the world’s poorest people, are also a tremendous resource and must be included in the new vision for a sustainable future.
“We are standing at a point of fateful decision. But between discussions around funding and goals, lie billions of rural people who are trying to feed themselves.
According to him, three quarters of the world’s poor and chronically hungry people live in the rural areas.
“They are also mainly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
“While investments in smallholder farmers and rural development have grown in recent years, increases have been insufficient and rural poverty has persisted, even in countries experiencing economic growth and rising per capita incomes.
In lifting rural people out of poverty, Nwanze said that countries needed to offer good leadership, good governance and a commitment to the rule of law, as well as an enabling environment to attract investments.
All these, he said, were things that money cannot buy.
“IFAD is uniquely positioned as both an international financial institution and a specialised UN agency that mobilises and invests funds in the rural sector and rural people.
“It is committed to supporting the implementation of the Addis Ababa Accord and helping to realise the SDGs.
“IFAD will continue to support developing countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable rural transformation, drawing on the increasingly diversified sources of funding, and leveraging tools and partnerships,” the president added.
By Oluwashina Iyanda, just back from Addis Ababa