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IFC, Lebanese Business Chamber to Help Boost Opportunities for Women Amid COVID-19 Crisis

In Cairo:
Olena Harmash
Phone: +202 2461 4331

Beirut, Lebanon, June 21, 2020—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, partners with a key Lebanese business association to help the private sector create family-friendly workplaces, so companies can attract and retain more female employees.  

The agreement signed today with Lebanon’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture- of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIA-BML)—the country’s largest business organization —will help private sector employers hire, retain, and promote more women into the labor force, while focusing on creating family friendly workplaces, including workplaces with employer provided childcare, through a peer learning platform.

Women are disproportionately affected by job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon, worsening economic prospects for them. They represented just 23 percent of Lebanon's labor force in 2019, one of the lowest rates in the world.

“We place gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace at the top of strategic areas of our work at the Chamber of Beirut and Mount Lebanon,” said Rabih Sabra, CCIA-BML’s Director General. “Our partnership with IFC will help reduce the gender gap and scale up women’s roles and contribution to the growth of the Lebanese economy.”  

Under the initiative, IFC will train key staff at CCIA-BML member companies in a webinar series on supporting employees with their family-friendly policies. The series will allow Lebanese firms to come together for knowledge sharing as well as learnings from international experts.

“IFC continues to aim at supporting the Lebanese private sector in recovering from the current economic crisis and rebuilding more agile and resilient businesses and workforces,” said Saad Sabrah, IFC’s country representative for Lebanon. “Creating safe, family-friendly and flexible workplaces that allow companies to maximize the contributions and productivity of the country’s workforce - especially those of women - is a critical driver of building resilience in Lebanon’s business sector.”

The project is part of the Mashreq Gender Facility (MGF), a World Bank-IFC initiative with the governments of Canada and Norway, which aims to strengthen the enabling environment for relevant stakeholders to effectively identify and address constraints to women’s economic participation; and improve women’s access to economic opportunities. The National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW)  is the main implementing partner in Lebanon.

About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2019, we invested more than $19 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

About MGF
The Mashreq Gender Facility (operated by the World Bank and IFC) works directly with the Governments of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to support country commitments for increasing female labor force participation rates. Each country has developed Women’s Economic Empowerment Action Plans accompanied by a detailed workplan with key deliverables and metrics to measure progress. The focus is on technical assistance, and country specific information about MGF activities is available under the following hyperlinks Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, a regional work program  supports cross-country activities and issues of regional concern, such as those related to refugees and IDPs, that require special attention at the regional level. Managed by the MGF Secretariat, the regional agenda focuses on supporting the country priorities and on building the evidence base on women’s economic empowerment by sharing and discussing results widely.

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