The International Development Association, IDA, is the World Bank’s Fund for the Poorest Countries. IDA complements the World Bank’s original lending arm’the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IBRD and IDA share the same staff and headquarters and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards.
Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called ‘credits’) and grants for programmes that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. IDA provides support for health and education, infrastructure and agriculture, and economic and institutional development to the 81 least developed countries’39 of them in Africa. These countries are home to 2.5 billion people, 1.8 billion of whom survive on $2 a day or less.
IDA lends money on concessional terms. IDA charges little or no interest and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress. In addition to concessional loans and grants, IDA provides significant levels of debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
Since its inception, IDA has supported activities in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 per cent of that going to Africa. For the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2012, IDA commitments reached $14.8 billion spread over 160 new operations. 15 per cent of the total was committed on grant terms.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD’s headquarters are located at Rome, Italy. The conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. It resolved that ‘an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries.’
IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poorest people ‘1.4 billion women, children and men ‘ live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods.
IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.