Ms Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia division in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with governments and other development partners to tackle some of the urgent challenges of the rural sector. IFAD is both an international financial institution and a UN specialized agency. Its mission is to invest in rural people to help them improve their incomes, food security and resilience. IFAD supports agricultural and rural development projects in 99 countries, which have reached some 114 million beneficiaries to date. Globally, IFAD total investment since 1978 stands at US$ 16.8 billion.

Question #1: How would you assess IFAD’s collaboration with the Government of Armenia?

  • Let me give you some figures to summarize the strong cooperation and commitment IFAD has with the Government of Armenia.
  • Since 1995, we have mobilized close to USD 260 million of which about USD 90 million financed directly by IFAD.
  • Seven projects (including 2 on-going projects) have been financed, which have directly benefitted 407 200 households. Then we currently have two on-going projects: (i) the Infrastructure and Rural Finance Support Programme (IRFSP), that has been officially launched today; and (ii) the Rural Assets Creation Programme (RACP), completing in June this year.
  • Joining our forces for the development of the Armenian rural sector, we have so far: (i) promoted access to financial services; (ii) promoted links to markets, (iii) improved infrastructures, and also (iv) helped reduced unemployment in the rural areas.
  • But IFAD is fully committed to accompany and support the Government in these last months of implementation of the RACP. And going forward, we have big expectations for the new Programme IRFSP, and will put every effort in place to make it a success.


Question #2: Can you tell us more about the new IRFSP programme?

  • IRFSP was jointly designed by the Government of Armenia and IFAD to scale up successful activities of previous IFAD-funded projects in Armenia, mainly rural infrastructure and rural finance, while at the same time strengthening agricultural production systems through effective farmer support services and value chain approaches.
  • For the implementation of this 6-year Programme, IFAD and the Government of Armenia have allocated USD 11 million and USD 10 million respectively, and another USD 29 million were leveraged from the OFID and the GEF.
  • The Programme will benefit nearly 16 000 households, or around 67 000 people. We are talking about 7% of the rural population in Armenia and an estimated 21% of Armenia’s rural poor.


Question #3: What is your recommendation for a satisfactory implementation of the IRFSP since its start?

  • IRFSP will be managed by an experienced Programme Implementation Unit (the RAED PIU), that has demonstrated good capacities to implement previous programmes financed by the Fund in Armenia. And the rural finance component will be implemented by the Fund for Rural Development in Armenia (FREDA) and the Rural Finance Facility (RFF), that are today well equipped to deliver according to expectations. So we are lucky to have capable staff in place. But we need to ensure effective coordination and strong monitoring of all programme activities, as well as maximise synergies among technical components.
  • Moreover, the Programme needs to put farmers and communities at the centre stage to ensure that they fully benefit of the opportunities provided by IRFSP in terms of improved infrastructures, access to credit, agricultural support and technical assistance.
  • Overall I am quite confident that with concerted efforts of all relevant parties IRFSP will achieve its objectives and thus contribute to Armenia’s development efforts.

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