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Egypt signs agreement with IFC to empower women, enhance access to financing

The agreement stipulates to support Egypt’s efforts in economically empowering women and enhancing their access to financing, as well as to close gender gaps in remuneration and investment.

Thu, Oct. 14, 2021

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the National Council for Women (NCW) signed an agreement on Wednesday at the Ministry of International Cooperation, where Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat witnessed the signing ceremony.

 

The agreement stipulates to support Egypt’s efforts in economically empowering women and enhancing their access to financing, as well as to close gender gaps in remuneration and investment.
 

Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women and  Walid Labadi, IFC’s Country Manager for Egypt signed the agreement during the presence of the Ambassador of Switzerland in Cairo, Paul Garnier; the Dutch ambassador in Cairo, Han-Maurits Schaapveld.; and Director of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights in Egypt, Nehad Abul-komsan.

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This comes within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s endeavors to deepen strategic relations between Egypt and its multilateral and bilateral development partners; advancing the efforts towards achieving Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


According to the agreement, the NCW will work, in partnership with the IFC, to advance Egypt’s efforts in economically empowering women, enhancing their engagement in economy, facilitating their access to financing, and creating a suitable work environment for women in order to enhance their productivity and tap on their potential in supporting economic growth.

 

Al-Mashat stated that such agreements play a profound role in economically empowering women and in pushing forward their efforts.

 

She further noted that this agreement is in alignment with the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator'' and its implementation plan, launched by the Ministry of International Cooperation, together with the World Economic Forum and the National Council for Women (NCW). This accelerator is the first public-private collaboration model in the MENA region; aiming to increase women’s participation in the labour force, close gender gaps in remuneration and investment, advance more women into management and leadership positions, and hardwire gender parity in the future of work.

 

Al-Mashat affirmed that the Ministry of International Cooperation collaborates with bilateral and multilateral development partners to support national development efforts to empower women, as there are around 34 projects in the Ministry’s cooperation portfolio worth $3.3 billion targeting women empowerment in various sectors; such as health, education, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

 

The minister stated that the Egypt - International Cooperation Forum (ICF): “Engaging for Impact”, encompassed a workshop covering “Women in Business: Supporting Female Entrepreneurship in Egypt”. Moreover, the full and final recommendation in the forum’s Cairo Communiqué emphasized the importance of the challenges that hinder women’s economic participation and engagement in development..

 

For her part, Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women expressed her contentment for signing the memorandums of understanding (MoU) with the IFC to enhance women’s participation in developing the economy; noting that this project provides and shares success stories of experiences and models for women in the economy.

 

Morsy stressed that Egypt has provided an appropriate legislative environment for women to enhance their participation in economy and entrepreneurship; adding that this comes in light of supporting women’s rights and across all fields.

 

She further noted that Egypt prioritizes women’s economic empowerment and exerts efforts within this framework to strengthen cooperation with development partners in order to achieve gender equality, which is one of the main pillars of Egypt’s Vision 2030. Furthermore, she said that the NCW is keen on addressing gender equality, especially since women’s engagement in the labor force would increase the GDP by 34%. The NCW also works on enhancing women’s financial inclusion across all fields. The council also works to enhance the financial inclusion of women and to bolster digitization, and the use of modern technology.

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For his part, Walid Labadi, IFC’s Country Manager for Egypt, Yemen and Libya stated that women in Egypt do not enjoy the same economic opportunities men have access to, hence empowering women and tapping on their skills and potential would enhance their economic engagement; pushing forward development and post-pandemic recovery,

 

The Ministry’s ongoing development cooperation portfolio with the World Bank amounts to $5.8 billion to finance 18 projects across various sectors, including education, health, transportation, social solidarity, petroleum, housing, sanitation, local development, and environment.