The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) reached agreement that “will consolidate their partnership and enable them to more effectively tap available resources to fight rural poverty,” IFAD said in a news release after the pact was signed in Lisbon. The agreement aims to optimize development funds in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste. To date, the Fund has invested some $336 million in support of 27 programmes and projects worth a total of $758 million in these countries. Meanwhile, in Berne, Switzerland, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the Association of Post Office and Telecommunications Operators from the Portuguese Speaking Countries and Territories (AICEP) signed a cooperation agreement that means $120,000 will be distributed among the five Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa over the next two years. The funding in the deal will be used to introduce a series of measures to modernize the postal operations of those countries, as well as to broaden some reforms that began last year. New software will be introduced to better track postal items, a database of mail collection and delivery points will be created, an electronic money transfer network will be set up, and continuous testing and training will be provided to help staff. 8 November 2007Two United Nations agencies signed agreements today to help Portuguese-speaking countries in their efforts to reduce rural poverty and to streamline and improve their postal operations.