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
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.