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Cameroon signs over $13.5 million microfinance development deal with IFAD

afrol News, 11 May - Cameroon will receive a major boost for its poverty reduction activities aimed at helping rural commuities improve their livelihoods, with a total financing of US$ 13.7 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Announcing the financing today, IFAD said the $13.5 million loan and a US$0.2 million grant to the Republic of Cameroon for the Rural Microfinance Development support project will help to reduce poverty, increase income and improve the livelihoods of poor people in rural areas.

The loan agreement was signed today in Rome by Louis Paul Motaze, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development of the Republic of Cameroon and the President of IFAD Kanayo F. Nwanze.

IFAD said in a statement that with high rates of unemployment in cities, more and more young people are opting to stay in rural areas to undertake productive activities in agriculture and other related sectors. Most of these young people face difficulties in accessing financial services adapted to their needs, said the agency, adding that the Rural Microfinance Development support project will fill this vacuum.

"In doing so, it will help to increase rural employment, boost the income of the rural poor, improve their food security and nutrition, as well as enhance the status of women, who will participate in the management of the microfinance institutions," IFAD said in a statement.

The IFAD project will target the rural populations in the Centre, Extreme-North, North-West and Western Regions of Cameroon. The target groups comprise smallholder farmers with limited access to inputs and technologies and who have difficulties in accessing suitable financial services. The project will also help young people, particularly young women who despite their heavy workload and financial constraints undertake many rural microenterprises involved in processing, storage, transport and handicraft activities.

To date IFAD has funded seven rural development projects in Cameroon for a total of US$ 85 million.

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