“Vietnam has been a good example of how to move from vision to action in strengthening communities with climate resilience, economic growth, and poverty reduction,” Reehana R. Raza said on her first official visit to the Southeast Asian country this week as the new regional director at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Asia-Pacific.
While meeting the Vietnamese leadership in Hanoi, Raza reaffirmed IFAD’s support for Vietnam in the 2021-25 national target program on sustainable poverty reduction and praised the country’s efforts in moving the development agenda forward.
“IFAD is proud of its successful collaboration with Vietnam for almost three decades,” Raza said.
“We wish to deepen, enlarge, and expand this cooperation and partnership with Vietnam in a sustainable way.”
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen relationships with Vietnam going forward by meeting with UN development partners and line ministries that IFAD works closely with at both national and local levels, namely Tran Quoc Phuong, Vice-Minister of Planning and Investment, Le Quoc Doanh, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Ta Anh Tuan, Vice-Minister of Finance.
Vice-Minister of Finance Tuan said that IFAD's projects in Vietnam have introduced innovative initiatives in rural areas, including market-oriented planning, value chain development, and promotion of innovation.
“The projects financed by IFAD have proven effective when Vietnam is assessed as one of the successful business cases on poverty reduction and agricultural and rural development,” he noted.
On the other hand, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Doanh called on IFAD to mobilize senior experts on rural and agricultural development to support his ministry in institutional development and advise the agency on developing and implementing the agricultural sector development strategy.
|Reehana R. Raza (C) poses for a picture with UN development partners and Vietnamese officials on her first official visit to Vietnam this week as the new regional director at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Asia-Pacific.|
In a talk with Caitlin Wiesen, acting resident coordinator for the United Nations in Vietnam, Raza reiterated IFAD’s efforts to increase joint programs with other UN agencies in the nation and to be involved in mobilization of resources for competitive funds, such as COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (COVID-19 MPTF) and SDG funds to support sub-regional initiatives targeting ethnic minorities, young people, and women.
Raza is an economist and policy expert with over 20 years of experience in formulating and managing innovative economic research while providing technical assistance in human development, governance, and decentralization.
She joined IFAD in May 2022 from the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., USA.
She previously served as a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and a research associate at the Overseas Development Institute in London, UK.
Vietnam and IFAD have written a success story on poverty reduction.
Since 1993, IFAD has supported 15 programs and projects in Vietnam, providing a total of US$362 million and directly benefiting 738,470 rural households.
As Vietnam is one of the nations most affected by climate change and sea level rise, Raza stated that helping the country adapt to and address climate change in a sustainable and resilient way is a top priority.
In line with this, IFAD plans to launch a new project to develop a climate-smart agricultural value chain in the Mekong Delta provinces of Ben Tre and Tra Vinh, to be carried out over the next few years.