“Only 20% of women entrepreneurs are bank clients, ” Maya Morsi, the president of the National Council for Women (NCW), stated. While “45% of micro credit loans are directed to women, the average size of loans they receive is less than the average received by men,” she added during the press conference on Sunday, in which she announced the results of the study titled ‘Women Economic Empowerment’.
The study is conducted by the World Bank (WB), in cooperation with the NCW and the ministry of investment and international cooperation (MIIC), while it is funded by the UK government.
The ‘Women Economic Empowerment’ report outlines the factors contributing to the persistently low economic participation of Egyptian women, and to identifying “gender smart” policies and solutions in order to boost economic growth while at the same time, narrowing the relevant gender gaps.
During presenting the results of the study, Morsi assured that financial inclusion is a critical enabler for poverty reduction.
“It connects people into the formal system, making day-to-day living easier and allowing them to build assets, mitigate shocks related to emergencies, illness or injury, and maker productive investments,” she stated.
For her part, Sahar Nasr, the minister of investment and international cooperation, stated that her ministry encourages businesswomen to invest, mentioning that the Investment Law guarantees an article stipulating gender equality in investment opportunities.
She further mentioned that the report indicated that the government’s economic reform programme has led to increasing employment rates, employment opportunities for men and women, particularly in export-oriented sectors and social welfare sectors, which recently provided enormous opportunities for female employment, such as agriculture-industries, communications and information technology, tourism, as well as medical and pharmaceutical products industries.
The minister assured that women-led companies are one of the fastest growing small business types.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey Adams, the British ambassador to Cairo, stated, “The UK is proud to partner with the MIIC, the NCW, and the WB in supporting the ‘Women Economic Empowerment’ report. Through it, we hope to identify policies and solutions which enable further women empowerment, with the aim of increasing the state’s economic growth.”
Moreover, he noted that the UK’s support for the report is aligned with its commitment to help Egypt in achieving sustainable and inclusive development.