It is a true pleasure for me to join you today to celebrate International Women’s Day! As a man surrounded and inspired by strong women from the day I was born in a village not too far from here, I know very well what enormous efforts you go through every day to earn a living, keeping your children healthy, happy and safe, and fighting prejudice and the risk of violence in order to put food on the table and a roof over your heads.
The R20 is a public-private partnership, bringing together subnational governments; businesses; financial institutions; academic institutions; non-profit organizations; intergovernmental organizations, and United Nations Programme to develop and implement measurable, large-scale, low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects at the subnational level which can simultaneously solve the climate crisis and build a sustainable global economy.
I remember very well the first time I took the floor at an African Union Summit in my capacity as Director General of UNIDO. That was in 2008. I felt honoured by the reception given to me by the leaders of Africa. But this feeling was tempered with a strong sense of humility, and above all, responsibility to advocate for Africa’s industrialization. I remember delivering an angry and passionate speech on behalf of the Youth of Africa. I warned about a youth revolt; well, as they say, the rest is history.