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There are three UN food agencies all based in Rome. What separates them and justifies ongoing international support? On this week’s podcast, the head of one those agencies makes his pitch for more resources. 

“Between 2010 and 2015, independent assessment [found] that IFAD has helped 24 million out of poverty,” former Prime Minister of Togo Gilbert Houngbo tells me in the podcast. “So I’m saying that the results speak for the need to keep us in business.” 

 

IFAD—the International Fund for Agricultural Development—is part implementing agency, part development bank, and works on the idea that food security can drive a nation’s development, peace, and prosperity.

Houngbo joined me on the podcast just after the UN warned that 20 million people are facing famine in four countries—Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria. How can IFAD help?

“Beyond the moral side of it … investing in long-term development turns out to be cheaper than jumping from one crisis to another,” Houngbo says, clarifying that IFAD is not a humanitarian agency. “When you start talking about the transition economics, that’s where we start working with the government … or at the local level to start building new programs for long-term development.”