IFAD, Ant Financial ink accord to develop rural economies

Rome: The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development and leading technology company Ant Financial Services Group have signed an agreement aimed at propelling rural economic development and reducing poverty in China and elsewhere, the IFAD said Wednesday in a statement.

Areas of proposed collaboration include improving market access for rural producers through e-commerce platforms and value-chain financing for promising rural agribusinesses, it said.

“Partnerships with private sector entities, like Ant Financial, are vital to reach our objective of eradicating rural poverty,” said Charlotte Salford, who is associate Vice-President of IFAD’s External Relations and Governance department.

“Using our complementary expertise, together we can improve the lives and livelihoods of rural people.”

The IFAD, a specialised agency of the UN dedicated to eradicate rural poverty in developing countries, and Ant Financial, seeks to develop rural areas and improve rural people’s living standards

“We are pleased to be partnering with the IFAD. By combining Ant Financial’s commitment to promoting digital inclusive finance and IFAD’s vision of every rural family living in dignity, we hope to leverage the power of technology and innovation to improve rural people’s livelihoods,” said Peng Bo, General Manager of Ant Financial’s Rural Finance Department.

IFAD’s portfolio in China is one of its largest. The agency has supported 29 rural development projects in China, investing over $862 million and helping around 4.4 million rural households, or about 20 million famers.

IFAD-supported projects focus on improving rural people’s earning prospects through better access to markets, strengthening value chains and promoting more inclusive financial services, the IFAD said.