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IFC Trains Iraqi Businesswomen to Promote Local Entrepreneurship


In Cairo
Shaheen Sidi Mohamed
Phone: +2 010 510 8646
Email: smohamed@ifc.org

In Amman
Bashar Al-Ali
Phone: +962-6-5682871
E-mail: balali@ifc.org


Amman, Jordan, June 5, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, recently organized a three-day workshop for Iraqi businesswomen with the goal of strengthening local women-owned small and medium enterprises. The workshop was held in conjunction with the Iraqi International Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women and was part of IFC’s regional Gender Entrepreneurship Markets program.

The workshop, entitled "Successful Marketing and Pricing Strategies," was designed to enhance local women entrepreneurs’ competitiveness through better approaches to pricing and marketing. Using IFC’s Business Edge management training methodology, the workshop aimed to respond to women’s specific training needs. Similar Business Edge workshops have been held in other IFC frontier countries, including Afghanistan and Yemen. These training sessions have been well received due to their practical applicability for small and medium enterprises.

The Iraqi International Chamber of Commerce and Industry promotes entrepreneurship in Iraq. To ensure the success of the training workshop, it liaised closely with the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women. The Forum, one of Jordan’s leading women’s business associations, provides a business incubation program, counseling on legal matters, and mentoring to encourage the start-up and growth of women owned-businesses.

Tameem Al-Shawi, Public Relations Manager at the Iraqi International Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that, “The IFC workshop has provided a rare opportunity for Iraqi women to receive training highly relevant to their business needs and to network and share knowledge. We are grateful to the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women, which has arranged for valuable visits to Jordanian women-owned businesses.”

Despite the challenges arising from the conflict-affected environment of Iraq, IFC believes that unleashing the potential of entrepreneurship is crucial to helping women transform their socioeconomic status, strengthen private sector development, and ultimately contribute to the country’s reconstruction and economic progress.

Ahmed Attiga, IFC’s Resident Representative in Jordan, noted, “A key component of this workshop was to foster relationships between women-owned businesses in Iraq and Jordan. These networks are critical in expanding SMEs’ markets and boosting trade.” He added that small and medium enterprises have significant potential to contribute to growth and employment in the private sector.

The workshop was co-sponsored by the World’s Bank’s Multi-Sector Institutional Capacity Building Program for Iraq. The program aims to strengthen economic management and build institutional capacity to cope with the economic and social environment of a market economy; assist the government in building systems and strengthening its capacity to improve the efficiency and quality of public services; and assist the Iraqi administration in building capacity in key areas of public administration areas, thus facilitating use of public resources, including donor funds, for urgent reconstruction and development efforts.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.