Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo has lost a bid to become the next President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) to Mr Alvaro Lario of Spain.
Mr Lario succeeds Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo , who has headed Ifad since April 1, 2017.
Mr Lario was overwhelmingly elected by delegates attending a three-day Ifad conference in Rome, Italy, which began on Wednesday. He will begin on October 1 and will serve for a four-year term, which is renewable.
After his appointment, Mr Lario said he was up to the task and ready to work with member states to build resilience and strengthening public-private partnerships to improve Ifad’s agenda.
Read:Raychelle Omamo Seeks Top Position at Global Agriculture Agency
“The private sector is very important to provide employment opportunities for women and young people. We will triple or quadruple the partnership we have with youth,” Mr. Lario said.
The new President noted that issues such as migration, conflict and climate change affect many rural farmers .
Prior to his appointment, he was Ifad’s Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Vice President for Financial Operations since 2018.
Tackling Food Insecurity
Mr. Lario will take over the post during the world is struggling against food insecurity caused by the war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have the institutions to fight poverty, we have the know-how to reduce inequality. What we need is to mobilize resources and join forces,” he said.
Mr. Lario was one of four candidates applying for the position. The others were Ms. Omamo, Mr. Shobhana Kumar Pattanayak from India and Mr. Khaled A. Mahdi from Kuwait.
Only Female Candidate
Ms. Omamo was the only female candidate. Since its inception in 1977, Ifad has had only five presidents. And in its entire 45-year history, no woman has held that seat.
In February, Kenya’s Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma withdrew her candidacy from the running for Secretary-General of the 53-nation Commonwealth.
Amina Mohamed, secretary of the Sports Cabinet, also lost the race for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2020 to Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Ms Mohamed was also Kenya’s nominee for the African Chair of the Union Commission in 2017. She lost to Moussa Faki of Chad, despite Kenya having spent more than 400 million shillings lobbying for the position.