The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze will travel to Japan this week to strengthen partnerships with Japanese counterparts furthering work to transform rural areas in developing countries into economically vibrant places.
While in the country, Nwanze will meet senior officials at the Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Finance ministries, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and private sector representatives to discuss the links between human security, food security and development, particularly in Africa.
Japan has been a strong advocate for human security, actively promoting it by utilizing the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. IFAD and Japan have long-shared the importance of achieving human security.
"When people don't have enough to eat or they can't earn a decent living, they act in ways that can have a much bigger impact," said Nwanze prior to leaving for Japan. "Out of desperation, they migrate to urban slums or illegally to other countries altogether, and they become vulnerable to extreme viewpoints. So it's no coincidence that the same countries that have seen the biggest share of growth in Africa - Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania - are also among those that have made the biggest strides in terms of increasing security."
Nwanze's visit to Japan comes in advance of next month's finalization of the global development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals after 2015, and during the year-long UN observance of the International Year of Family Farming. Nwanze was in Japan last year to speak at the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADV) where agricultural and rural development was recognized as a main component of economic growth in Africa.
"TICAD has helped in much more than just the area of technology transfer and business development," Nwanze said. "It has played a large role in raising the consciousness of emerging leadership on the African continent."
Japan is a major partner of IFAD and has to date pledged over US$447 million to IFAD's regular resources. Japan has also made supplementary contributions of over $5.8 million through Women in Development, a specialized fund to support programmes and projects that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women for inclusive rural poverty reduction.