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Tuesday, 21st February 2017
President elect of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo
Officially endorsed by the African Union, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, Deputy Director-General in charge of operations and partnerships at the UN International Labor Organization, was duly elected President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 15th February, 2017. Houngbo's impressive and balanced presentation of his vision for IFAD won him the presidency of this Rome-based UN body. The former Prime Minister of Togo, from 2008 to 2012, was against stiff competition from seven other highly eligible candidates from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Switzerland. Heavily supported by the Africa Regional Group of the three UN-Rome-based agencies, Houngbo garnered votes from all other regions while using the African vote as a base. With his high level of international exposure as a former Prime Minister, current ILO Deputy Director General, top-level managerial positions in UNDP; plus his accomplishments as a seasoned diplomat, Houngbo was able to earn global endorsement for the top IFAD job.

Houngbo has a six-point vision for an IFAD that has to rise up to the challenges of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A chartered accountant by profession, IFAD's newly elected President Plans to boost rural finance and deepen and broaden the organization's resource base in order to enhance production capabilities. Expanded access to markets together with a special focus on youth are part of the new vision. Houngbo plans to have climate change woven into the fabric of IFAD programmes and projects; while IFAD itself will have to improve its organizational effectiveness.