Nigerian prepares to leave IFAD top seat

Kanayo F. Nwanze will end his tenure as president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 31 March 2017. Nwanze has headed the specialized United Nations agency and international financial institution since 2009.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, the organisation has provided about $17.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 459 million people. The first President of IFAD, Abdelmuhsin M. Al-Sudeary, from the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, was appointed in 1977. In November 1984,  IFAD elected its second President, Idriss Jazairy from the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. The third President, Fawzi Al-Sultan from the State of Kuwait, was appointed in January 1993 and Lennart Båge, from the Kingdom of Sweden, served as President of IFAD from 2001-2009.

Under Nwanze’s guidance, IFAD has stepped up its advocacy efforts to ensure that agriculture is a central part of the international development agenda, and that governments recognize the concerns of smallholder farmers and other poor rural people. As an intellectual leader on issues of food security, Nwanze has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010, and formerly chaired the group.

As the Nigerian’s tenure winds up, IFAD has announced a call to its 176 Member States to nominate candidates for the Fund’s next President.

“The President is IFAD’s most senior position with responsibility for leading the organization and chairing its Executive Board. Nominations for President can only be made by IFAD Member States and must be received by the Secretary of IFAD no later than 1 December 2016,” a statement by the Fund said.

“The next IFAD President will take up the helm at a time when boosting investments in smallholder agriculture will be essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and hunger.  Indeed, in a rapidly changing world with growing demand for food, increased migration to cities and the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, IFAD investments in rural areas of developing countries have never been as relevant and important.”

Following the nomination process, the appointment of the next President will take place on 14 February 2017 during IFAD’s annual Governing Council meeting in Rome. The Governing Council is IFAD’s principle governing body with full decision-making powers.

The President of IFAD serves a four-year term, renewable once.