Egypt hosts World Bank's IFC summit to enhance women’s economic participation in MENA

Sohaila Khaled, Thursday 4 May 2023

Egypt hosted on Wednesday the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) summit on Law and Gender Conference, with a focus on the interplay between the private sector and the judiciary in advancing women’s economic participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

IFC headquarter. (AFP)
IFC headquarter. (AFP)


"Gender is a crosscutting theme in policies related to climate change, food security, and science and technology as an essential condition for progress in sustainable development, and these are goals Egypt embraces," said Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt's minister of international cooperation.

The MENA region still faces a gender gap, although it has implemented about 200 reforms to enhance women's economic participation.

According to the World Bank, of which the IFC is the financing arm, the MENA region has one of the lowest women's labour force participation rates in the world at only 18.4 percent, highlighting gender inequalities in economic security, health, and safety.

The conference aligns with the World Bank's commitment to gender equality in order to end extreme poverty and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5, which focuses on gender equality and women's empowerment.

"The case for gender equality is clear, and the timing is urgent," said Christopher Stevens, World Bank Group senior vice president and general counsel, during the summit.

"Private sector-led development in emerging markets can only succeed with the equal participation of both women and men," said Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, IFC vice president of Cross-Cutting Solutions.

The IFC focuses on private sector development through financing and advising private sector companies.

It has a growing portfolio of nearly $1.5 billion in investment projects and $32 million in advisory programmes in Egypt covering key areas such as access to finance, fintech, climate finance, manufacturing, infrastructure and renewable energy, healthcare, and gender issues.

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