Switzerland is a founder member of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). As of 2014, the Fund has 173 Member States. IFAD is a specialized United Nations Agency that was established as an international financial institution in 1977.
Since it was created in 1977, IFAD has focused exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition; raise their productivity and incomes; and improve the quality of their lives. The Fund has designed and implemented projects in very different natural, socio-economic and cultural environments. Many IFAD-supported projects and programmes have been in remote areas, and have targeted some of the poorest and most deprived segments of the rural population.
Over 70 per cent of the world’s poor people live in rural areas and most of rural women and men rely on agriculture. IFAD is addressing gender inequalities and discrimination by focusing on areas which can empower women economically and socially, including access to land, water, education, training, markets and financial services.
IFAD provides loans to its developing member States on highly concessional, intermediate and ordinary terms for approved projects and programmes. Lending terms and conditions vary according to the borrower's per capita GNI. IFAD also provides grants to institutions and organizations in support of activities to strengthen the technical and institutional capacities linked to agricultural and rural development. Grants are limited to 10% of the combined loan and grant programme.
The Governing Council is IFAD's highest decision-making authority. Each Member State is represented in the Governing Council by Governors, Alternate Governors and any other designated advisers.
The Executive Board (EB) is responsible for overseeing the general operations of IFAD and for approving its programme of work. The Executive Board is consisting of 18 elected Members and 18 Alternate Members, Switzerland currently is an Alternate Member of the EB.
IFAD’s president since 2009 is President Kanayo F Nwanze.
Operations (loans and grants) are financed by replenishing the Fund every three years. Swiss contribution to the 9th replenishment (2013 to 2015) is CHF 28.5 mio (ca. USD 31.5 mio). Additional funding in 2013 was about 5.0 mio CHF (ca. USD 5.5 mio).