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    UNIS/OUS/015
    8 March 2010

    Reissued as received

    UNIDO Director-General says Women in Developing World
    Need Skills, Financial Support to Overcome Poverty

    VIENNA, 8 March (UN Information Service) - UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, said today that providing women in developing countries with skills, technologies and finance was crucial for ensuring their wider participation in productive activities, and securing their equal rights and opportunities.

    "The key to enhancing opportunities for women in the developing world and lifting them out of poverty is to provide them with skills, know-how, technologies and finance to enable them to engage in productive activities and earn an income," said Yumkella during a visit to Abuja.

    He is in the Nigerian capital for a high-level Conference on the Development of Agribusiness and Agro-industries in Africa. The event, hosted by the Government of Nigeria, was organized by UNIDO, the African Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the African Development Bank.

    "In order for developing countries to position themselves in a globalized world and achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals there need to be increased efforts to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women. If women are able to access credit to invest in business ventures, markets to sell their products, knowledge to expand their businesses, they will be in a better position to contribute to economic growth and development," said Yumkella.

    He added that UNIDO was committed to ensuring that women have equal rights and opportunities to live a full and decent life. "Unfortunately, women as a group suffer from discrimination of all types particularly with regard to access to decent work, resources, skills and capacity development. This is perpetuating poverty and creating a multiplier effect in poor households and communities," said Yumkella.

    In rural Africa, women are predominantly engaged in various forms of agricultural activities. They participate in crop production, livestock care and off-farm activities, in addition to working as independent small farmers or agricultural laborers. But gender-based constraints and lack of equal rights hold them back from increasing their productivity and moving into the higher segments of the agricultural value chain. They lack access to productive assets, which keeps them engaged in rural subsistence survival.

    "UNIDO believes that with adequate support and training, women can be encouraged to engage in more profitable agricultural activities and improve their livelihoods," said Yumkella.

    "On this International Women's Day, we join the rest of the United Nations system and the world in renewing our efforts to advocate for equal rights and opportunities for women, with the ultimate goal of progress for all."

    In its work, UNIDO focuses on achieving 4 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals, including on promoting gender equality and empowering women.

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    For more information, please contact:

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and media specialist
    Mobile: (+43-650) 391-5278
    Email: m.evstafyev@unido.org