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Logo of the 2021 Rome Summit

PM Draghi's Address at the Leaders' Side Event on
"Supporting SMEs and Women-Owned Businesses to Build Forward Better"

Rome, October 30, 2021

Dear colleagues,

Small and medium enterprises are the bedrock of many of our countries, including my own. 

Our economies thrive on the ingenuity and hard work of their employees and entrepreneurs. 

SMEs create jobs, innovate, pay their fair share of taxes. 

We must do all we can to support them and help them grow. 

The pandemic took a heavy toll on SMEs.

They faced a sharp drop in revenues, which led to acute liquidity shortages. 

Governments and central banks acted quickly to prevent a sharp surge in bankruptcies and new technologies and digital services helped smaller businesses adapt and survive the crisis. 

However, the pandemic left many behind, including informal workers, rural dwellers and smaller businesses.

During the pandemic, they struggled to find new customers because of their lower digital literacy. 

As we recover from this crisis, governments need to help SMEs become more competitive and reap the full benefits of digitalization. 

Italy's G20 Presidency endorses the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion to promote the use of digital tools and protect SMEs. 

Women entrepreneurs were among the hardest-hit by the economic downturn.

They faced more limited access to loans than men and shouldered a larger share of domestic work at a time of widespread school closures. 

Italy has put female empowerment at the core of its G20 Presidency. 

There can be no rapid, fair and sustainable recovery if we forget about half of the world. 

Together, we have stepped up the G20 commitment to counter to gender inequality in the workforce, promote female leadership and remove all barriers to women's full participation in our societies and economies. 

We have promoted women's and girls' study of so-called "STEM" subjects and a more equal distribution of domestic chores between women and men. 

A just society begins at home and in the workplace. 

It is now my pleasure to leave the floor to Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, whom I thank once again for having accepted my invitation to participate in this important event.

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Source: Official website of the Italian Government

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