Benetton Funds Micro-Credit Scheme in Senegal

Alison Blades

Last updated 5/15/2008 8:19:14 AM

Benetton's latest global ad campaign promotes the Birima micro-credit programme in Senegal, a co-operative credit society founded by the Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour.

Benetton Group will donate financial support for the programme.

Benetton is known for creating some of the most controversial and provocative ads. Its ads deal with issues such as war, AIDS and death row convicts.  Africa Works - the slogan of this latest campaign - features Senegalese workers who have used micro loans to start small, productive businesses. The idea was to produce a confident view of Africa working. 

The workers featured include, amongst others, a fisherman, a decorator, a musician, a jewellery-maker, a farmer, a tailor, two textile sellers and a boxer. These people are symbolic of an optimistic future for Africa, proving how the fight against poverty can be won, ensuring that Africans themselves take back responsibility for their future.

Alessandro Benetton, Executive Deputy Chairman of Benetton Group explains the why Benetton has backed the project: "We chose to support and promote this important project because, unlike traditional acts of solidarity, it offers tangible support to small local entrepreneurs through the efficient use of micro-credit. Precisely because it is based on entrepreneurial talent, hard work, optimism and interest for the future, this project effectively promotes the new face of Africa."

Youssou N'Dour, one of Africa's best-known singers and a man committed to humanitarian projects, says this about the project: "My personal experience led me to realise that when a loan, however small, is used to develop an idea or realise a project, it is an effective way of fighting poverty. This is why everybody must understand the value of micro-credit. Africa doesn't want charity, it wants repayable subsidised loans."

Plans to take this micro-credit project beyond Senegal within the next six months to Ivory Coast are already in place.