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Egypt's women entrepreneurs obtain 51% of microfinance loans

Egypt's women entrepreneurs obtain 51% of microfinance loans
Gender gap accelerator will prepare women for the post COVID-19 world of work

Cairo – Mubasher: Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania El-Mashat, participated in the virtual event ‘Ensuring Sustainable Recovery: Public and Private Sector Solutions to Close Growing Gender Gaps’ as part of the annual meetings organised by the World Bank this week.

The event included the participation of Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank, Hans Peter Lankes, IFC's Vice President of Economics and Private Sector Development, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning in Nigeria, Mats Granryd, Director General of GSM Association, and Anila Denaj, Minister of Finance and the Economy in Albania, according to a statement on Thursday.

The webinar discussed the role of public and private sector initiatives to scale up efforts and drive investments towards a sustained economic recovery. It called for innovative approaches to closing gender gaps in emergency response and how the private sector can support women employees and women-owned firms in value chains.

Egypt: Shaping a gender-equitable post-COVID-19 world

The minister noted that Egypt’s national strategy is committed to shaping a gender-equitable post-COVID-19 world, as evidenced by the recent report of the United Nations and UNDP, which ranked Egypt first in the Middle East and West Asia economies for taking 21 measures to support women during the coronavirus pandemic.

Engaging the private sector in advancing gender equality has been part of Egypt’s policy, the minister added, referring to the ‘Gender Gap Accelerator’ that was launched in collaboration with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum, which is a public-private collaboration model to preparing women for the post coronavirus (COVID-19) world of work and push decisive action to close economic gender gaps.

For the first time in Africa and the Middle East, the accelerator will serve as a multi-stakeholder platform to streamline efforts and push for coordinate action to expedite the implementation of the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In regards to the role of the public sector, the minister noted that the government expanded the Takaful and Karama social protection programmes to an additional 100,000 households, where women already represent 88% of the programmes’ beneficiaries

The government also increased the monthly income for women leaders in rural communities from EGP 300 to EGP 900 per month and integrated women aged 65 and above in nursing homes under the umbrella of social protection.

Over the past few years, the minister stated that Egyptian women’s economic participation has increased, as the percentage of women holding bank accounts has increased from 9% in 2015 to 27% in 2017 and that 51% of microfinance loans were granted to women and 69% benefited from small enterprise loans in 2018.

Through the Ministry of International Cooperation, around 34 projects, are being executed with various partners to achieve the targets of gender equality, with the top targeted sectors including health (20%), education (14%), and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) (15%).