“Muhammad Yunus has pioneered a new approach to fighting poverty by improving financial inclusion and access to credit for small entrepreneurs. Microfinance, in fact, has proven to be an essential tool in helping sustainable development in fragile contexts. It supports small and micro- enterprises, fosters equitable growth, and harnesses women’s potential, which is fundamental to ending exclusion and discrimination. Above all, however, it should be stressed that this approach favours reconciliation in countries affected by conflict and prevents young people from joining armed groups, especially in Africa”. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Marina Sereni said as much in a video presentation at the East Africa Social Business Forum on Youth Entrepreneurship currently underway in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The event, organised by the Yunus Centre, in addition to the founder of the Centre Muhammad Yunus, sees the participation of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, the actor Forest Whitaker, the Minister of Defense of the Central African Republic, Hon. Marie-Noëlle Koyara, and many other personalities.
“The crucial contribution of microfinance – Vice Minister Sereni continued – is now recognised. It is no coincidence that it is an integral part of every strategy adopted by development agencies, especially towards the younger generations. Even the Italian Cooperation has designed and implemented a series of programs that provide for microfinance use. We want to maintain this effective tool in our future programming. Italy strongly supports the three-zero vision proposed by Professor Yunus: zero concentration of wealth for zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions. Such vision is also a source of inspiration for the Italian cooperation strategy. We believe that economic growth can be sustainable only if it improves society’s welfare. Our action – stated the Vice Minister – is not only centred on people but also on the planet, with particular attention to the need to deal with climate change, a guiding principle of our initiatives, not only in Africa”.
“As President of the G20 and partner of the British Presidency of COP 26, – Vice Minister Sereni explained – Italy will put the zero-impact future approach at the centre of the international agenda characterised by resilience to the climate challenge and more efficient use of resources. The COVID19 pandemic has shown that global solidarity is essential to “leave no one behind”. From this perspective, the crisis can be an opportunity to correct some development dynamics and build a more equitable system. Every single action is significant. All of us, in our daily lives – the Vice Minister concluded – must provide our contribution to inclusive and sustainable development that transforms the lives of people and the planet for the better”.
Together with FAO and Yunus Centre, the Italian Cooperation is active with some specific programs in the Central African Republic to foster the sustainable growth of agricultural production and young people’s inclusion and training in business production processes.