Women represent only 21% of the labour force in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said during her participation in the second edition of Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 (GWFD), organised by Dubai Women Establishment, from 17 to 18 February.
There are huge opportunities in MENA for boosting women contribution to the region’s economies specially through entrepreneurship sector, Al-Mashat added over a plenary discussion entitled “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the MENA Region: New Solutions to Overcoming Barriers”. She noted that women contribute to MENA’s GDP growth with 18%, which is still modest.
Some 7.6% of MENA’s women are entrepreneurs, in comparison with 11.8% from region’s men, Al-Mashat stated, adding that studies by the International Monetary Fund showed that increasing the role of women in MENA’s economies will positively impact the region.
Al-Mashat called on the MENA region to achieve financial inclusion, boost investments of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), establish strong public-private partnerships, and pave the way to providing a suitable environment for women empowerment.
Moreover, the Central Bank of Egypt launched a number of initiatives to boost financial inclusion in the country in line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, Al-Mashat added.
Other panellists in the event included General Manager of Bank al Etihad Nadia Al Saeed; President of Global Public Affairs at United Parcel Service Laura Lane, Vice President of Global Sustainability & Packaging Innovation at McCormick & Company Michael Okoroafor, and Managing Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Heike Harmgart.
GWFD was organised under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It witnessed the participation of hundreds of representatives from 87 countries.