Italy’s continued support for inclusive and sustainable industrial development was emphatically reiterated today, as Director General Giorgio Marrapodi of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation signed two new funding agreements of EUR 4.5 million for projects in Mozambique and Tunisia with the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), LI Yong, in the presence of representatives of the recipient countries.
Director General Marrapodi also announced the funding of EUR 1.3 million for the second phase of a project to be implemented in the MENA region.
Two projects, in Mozambique and the MENA region, will promote value chain development in agro-industries, where UNIDO has a unique competitive advantage resulting from its successful record in the implementation of programmes and projects regarding leather and leather products, apparel and textiles, coffee and other agricultural produce. The third project, in Tunisia, which is co-funded by the European Union and Italy, will focus on artisan and design value chains to create jobs and economic opportunities for vulnerable populations in the country, especially women. It will follow UNIDO’s innovative approach of upgrading traditional and creative industries while promoting cultural heritage and know-how.
“UNIDO’s competence in analyzing and upgrading agribusiness value chains is essential to improve the performance of developing countries, especially through public-private partnerships,” said Director General Marrapodi. Indeed, in Mozambique, UNIDO will partner with Illycaffè and the Ernesto Illy Foundation to develop the Ibo specialty coffee in the Cabo Delgado province. Similar efforts were already successfully undertaken in Ethiopia, also with Italian funding.
The MENA region project, covering Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, will build on previous achievements and will also benefit from ongoing cooperation with UN Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It will improve the financial capability of women entrepreneurs as well as enable financial service providers to be more gender-responsive.
“The project will focus on policymakers, support institutions and entrepreneurs at the same time,” said Director General Li. “This will allow for the creation of jobs, the generation of income and for a greater economic inclusion of women entrepreneurs.”
UNIDO and the Government of Italy have been nurturing a long-standing strategic partnership, which has grown stronger over the years, evidenced by the large portfolio of technical cooperation projects that UNIDO implements with funding from Italy. Italy is UNIDO’s second largest donor and is highly engaged in North and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the Middle East. This partnership seeks to advance development objectives of mutual priorities, including employment and the economic empowerment of youth and women; mitigating the root causes of migration, including through job creation and private sector development; and the development and upgrading of industries in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.