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Italy

Italy's Best Shot At Economic Recovery: Immigrant Entrepreneurs

LA STAMPA, LA REPUBBLICA, CORRIERE DELLA SERA (Italy)

Worldcrunch

ROME - Italy's struggling economy appears to have at least one good shot at bouncing back: immigrant entrepreneurs. According to La Stampa, the businesses of non-EU immigrants account for 5.7% of Italy's GDP.

Confesercenti, the Italian association for small and medium businesses, says the number of small businesses owned by non-Italians has increased in the last nine months by 13,000 units. Meanwhile, Italian-owned small businesses have decreased by 24,500 units.

The study follows similar findings in other European countries, notably Germany where one in three new businesses are launched by immigrants.

In Italy, African countries dominate the list (Morocco 57,000 units, Senegal 15,851, Egypt 13,023 and Tunisia 12,348) while Chinese-owned businesses have increased by 6% from last year.

Albanians also play a big part, especially in the construction industry. La Repubblica acknowledges the difficulties that these business owners face to open a business in Italy. It’s not just a language barrier they must face but the agonizing bureaucracy too.

Corriere della Sera notes that more than 57% of these businesses are concentrated in five regions: Lombardy, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Lazio. The main industries involved are manufacturing, trade and construction.

Along with several other key euro-zone countries, Italy remains mired in recession. The European Union reported last week that the Italian economy will shrink by 0.5 percent in 2013.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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