The Principality of Monaco has recently signed its first funding agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the two parties have agreed on a tripartite declaration together with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) on empowering women in Tunisia through inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
At a meeting Monday, LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO, and Isabelle Rosabrunetto, Director General of the Department of External Relations and Cooperation of the Principality of Monaco, confirmed the strong willingness of the partners to collaborate further in this field.
The objective of the agreement, foreseen to last four years, is to promote the development of women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in order to create more business opportunities and jobs for women of working age in Tunisia.
The specific aim is to increase access of women-led companies creating cosmetic and para-pharmaceutical products based on natural products to national and international markets. In Tunisia this production covers essential oils, floral waters, and aromatic and medicinal plants, as well as perfumes, creams, masks and soaps. The sector has a large female workforce.
The global market for these products has been growing over the last decade (by an average of 4% per year) and Tunisia has certain comparative advantages such as an organic certification system approved by the European Union and the Swiss Federation, as well as a wide availability of raw materials, particularly organic produce.
However, the sector is poorly organized and the many, very small enterprises that make up the sector encounter difficulties in accessing national and international markets.
This pilot intervention is part of a broader initiative aiming to empower urban and rural women in seven countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia) in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“Promoting Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA Region (PWE)”, funded by the Italian Government, was awarded the UfM label in 2015.
The UfM label provides support for the implementation of the project through the provision of technical expertise, networking opportunities and enhanced visibility in order to promote innovative practices at the regional level.