Re-elected IFAD chief: 'Some fine-tuning to do'

    Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Photo by: N. Palmer / CIAT / CC BY-NC-SA

    Kanayo Nwanze pledged to make the United Nations’ specialized agency for agricultural development “more effective, efficient and agile” in the next four years after being reelected to a second term as president on Wednesday.

    Nwanze highlighted some of the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s “accomplishments” in the past four years in his Feb. 13 acceptance speech before member states at the 36th session of the Governing Council of IFAD in Rome, Italy. These include a new business model that has a stronger focus on women, an “expanded country presence” and an increased participation in policy dialogue.

    But the IFAD chief acknowledged the agency still needs some “fine-tuning” in a number of areas, including:

    • Direct supervision and implementation support.

    • Improving the agency’s HR management system for instance by taking issues raised by staff members “seriously.”

    • Improving IFAD’s business process and accountability framework.

    • Boosting efficiency to increase impact.

    • Data collection.

    • Measuring results.

    • Boosting partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, such as other U.N. agencies, governments, donors and nongovernmental organizations.

    Nwanze announced plans to explore “new and innovative financing” for IFAD’s core sectors: agriculture, food security and nutrition. IFAD must take the “next step” in helping smallholders have their own “sustainable, profitable businesses,” he added.

    “As the only international financial institution that caters exclusively to the needs of smallholders, we will work to mobilize much-needed, additional sources of finance that will allow small and medium enterprises to thrive,” he said.

    Nwanze hails from Nigeria, one of the countries he has over the years pushed to ”become self-sufficient in its rice production.” President Goodluck Jonathan wants to end rice imports before he leaves office in 2015.

    “IFAD can make the difference by helping smallholders to become active participants in their own development, and that of their nations: from aid-dependent to business-minded farmers,” Italy’s Minister for Economy and Finance Vittorio Grilli said at the meeting’s opening session.

    The theme of this year’s meeting is “the power of partnerships in developing countries”  the focus of many discussions at the event.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.