The UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development and Egypt on Tuesday inked a 81.6 million dollar sustainable development accord to reduce poverty and hunger and boost incomes and resilient livelihoods for 450,000 rural people in the northwest Matrouh Governorate, IFAD said in a statement.
The total cost of the Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments project is US$81.6 million, including a $61.9 million loan and a $1 million grant from IFAD. The government will contribute $14 million and the private sector will make up the difference, according to the statement.
The Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments project aims to address two key challenges in the lower Nile region – the impact of climate change and malnutrition – by building climate resilience in poor communities and offering a variety of nutrition-sensitive activities, the statement said.
To tackle nutrition-related challenges prevailing in the targeted area, PRIDE will work to improve the diets of women and children while helping them access better water and sanitation. By building schools and health clinics, it will provide sanitation facilities for 18,000 rural people, education for 1,000 students and health facilities for 15,000 women annually.
The PRIDE project will also raise livestock productivity and support families on newly reclaimed desert lands to cultivate suitable crops, said the statement.
"IFAD's collaboration through PRIDE will also link to and leverage national initiatives that the Government of Egypt is focusing on, including the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 and a 1.5 million feddan governmental initiative aimed at increasing Egypt's farmlands and fostering livelihood opportunities for young farmers," said Khalida Bouzar, IFADìs Regional Director, Near East, North Africa and Central Asia Division.
The project is expected to improve the nutrition, wealth and output of local communities, including a 19,000 feddan (7,980 hectare) increase in the area under agricultural production due to the development and rehabilitation of wadis (dry river valleys) through rain-water harvesting infrastructure and planting of fig and olive trees and the introduction of new technologies, such as electronic tablets, to improve water quality monitoring and management among women and men, according to the IFAD statement.
The PRIDE agreement was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Egypt, the statement noted.
Since 1980, IFAD has financed 13 rural development programmes and projects in Egypt, investing $456 million or $842 million when co-financing is included. These projects and programmes have benefitted around 7.2 million rural people, according to IFAD.