Statement delivered by the Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Hon. Teresa Bellanova, at the High-level interactive dialogue among Ministers on “Building Alliances to Achieve Gender Equality and Empower Rural Women and Girls” —
Ladies and gentlemen,
In developing countries women and girls working in the rural economy have a leading role. This is why I am compelled to highlight the work of Cooperazione Italiana promoting women’s rights and empowerment that can be seen through its targeted interventions cutting across other thematic sectors.
In terms of targeted action, Cooperazione Italiana works to promote education and the professional training of girls and adolescents; to improve women’s economic conditions, to better safeguard women’s sexual and reproductive health; and promote national laws that combat discrimination and gender-based violence.
Cooperazione Italiana supports women also in their role as advocates of political and social transformation and as stabilizing and economic growth factors of society. In this perspective, we have incorporated a transversal component that puts women at the center of long-lasting socio-economic dynamics, including initiatives dedicated to agricultural development and support for the private sector.
Women are thus the main actors and beneficiaries of the “Italy-Senegal – PAIS Agricultural Program”, which consists in credit assistance of 15 million euros to be invested in increasing agricultural production, yields and income. The integration of the gender dimension into the program is also guaranteed by the work of Senegal’s Ministry for Women, Families and Childhood, providing specific gender indicators when monitoring and assessing production activities.
A credit assistance of 30 million euros directed to the Ethiopian government for the project, “Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Agricultural Production in Oromia and in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples” Region, bears a strong gender imprint: the program’s activities aim to create an adequate level of women’s enjoyment of the benefits of production chains through a significant increase in the number of women in cooperatives (from 20% to 50%); the set-up of cooperatives led by women in the food industry sector and the strengthening of capacities and knowledge on gender themes of consulting services.
We firmly believe that only with a progressive integration of women into the productive systems of individual countries can we accelerate economic growth and harness innovative energies capable of paving the way toward a better future for every population.