IFAD, Bangladesh join hands for $54.8m anti-poverty programme

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 09, 2019 14:05 hrs
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Rome: A $54.8 million dollar investment will help over 342,000 impoverished people living on coastal sand islands (chars) in southeast Bangladesh, who are often the worst hit by climate change, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development said on Thursday.

Inhabitants of Bangladesh's coastal chars often live in badly built housing and on low-lying land that is vulnerable to extreme weather and vulnerable to sea-level rise, the IFAD statement said.

The aim of the investment project is to increase farm incomes and food production, reduce poverty and hunger and develop rural livelihoods, it underlined.

"By stabilising chars, constructing climate-resilient infrastructure, providing legal land titles to poor women and men, and investing in productive livelihoods, this transformative project will substantially reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth at scale," said Omer Zafar, IFAD's Country Director for Bangladesh.

The three-year investment will directly benefit more than 57,000 poor small and marginal farmer households living on the chars of the Meghna estuary in the Bhola, Chattogram and Noakhali Districts, the IFAD statement added.

Over 90 per cent of the households that will be helped by the investment are particularly poor and disadvantaged, including landless and socially marginalised farmers and women, the statement said.

With two thirds of its territory less than five metres above sea level, Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to climate change. More than 24 per cent of the population - some 40 million people - still lives below the poverty line, said the statement.

The new investment agreement was signed on Thursday by IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo and Nahid Rashid, Additional Secretary and Wing Chief of the Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh's Finance Ministry.

The project will be financed by IFAD (with a concessional loan of $20.6 million), the Netherlands (via grant worth approximately $5.7 million), Bangladesh's government ($24.7 million), NGO contributions ($3.7 million) and the contributions of beneficiaries themselves ($0.1 million), according to the statement.

IFAD has supported 34 programmes and projects in Bangladesh for a total amount of $3.2 billion, of which $811 million has been financed by IFAD and the remainder by domestic and international sources. These projects have directly benefitted more than 11.3 million rural households.

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