L-R: Mebrahtu Meles, Minister of State for Industry of Ethiopia; Romain Schneider, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action; Credit: Sawra Tafari

Yesterday, on 10 October 2017, the Luxembourg Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action Romain Schneider travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to participate in the African Microfinance Week (SAM).

The theme of this third edition of the SAM was "Accompanying small and medium-sized enterprises - a new era for inclusive finance". In both the North and the South, the segment of very small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is one of the main drivers of economic and employment growth. The objective of the conference was therefore to explore the different financial services available to accompany companies from different sectors in their transition from the micro- to medium-scale stage.

The SAM, held from 9 to 13 October, is organised jointly by ADA, the Luxembourg NGO specialised in inclusive finance, and the African Microfinance Networks. The event is supported by the governments of Luxembourg and Ethiopia.

Additionally, HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa delivered a video message at the opening ceremony, followed by a welcome speech by Ethiopian Minister of State for Industry, Mebrahtu Meles, who is also responsible for the microfinance sector.

Minister Romain Schneider gave a speech at the opening ceremony of the SAM to more than 500 participants, noting in particular the importance of inclusive finance for the development of Africa, especially for young entrepreneurs and VSE / SMEs, creating jobs.

Schneider also mentioned the know-how of Luxembourg's financial centre in the field of inclusive finance, and stressed that the Luxembourg government has been supporting this sector for more than 20 years. Luxembourg is home to the respective headquarters of the European Microfinance Platform, the Microinsurance Network, the Inclusive Finance Network and the Luxembourg Microfinance Development Fund.

Beyond the SAM, Minister Schneider held a bilateral meeting with Minister of State Mebrahtu Meles to review bilateral cooperation between Luxembourg and Ethiopia. He also took advantage of his visit to explore the headquarters of the African Union, where he was received by the Vice President, Kwesi Quartey.