Casablanca, Morocco, April 30, 2018—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the Confédération Générale des Entreprises
Marocaines (CGEM), which represents the Moroccan private sector, hosted
last week a regional conference in Casablanca to address the challenges
faced by women entrepreneurs.
The conference included a discussion of the newly launched Women, Business
and the Law Report 2018, the fifth edition in a series of biennial
reports measuring the legal obstacles to women who engage in economic activity
around the world. The conference explored how laws influence women’s decisions
to start and run businesses, and get jobs in the Maghreb region. It also
included recommendations for policy action and reform. Finally, conference
goers discussed ways in which banks in the Maghreb can increase women’s
access to finance while tapping into this underserved market.
“There cannot be sustainable growth without the effective economic participation
of women,” said Leyla Channawi, President of the Committee for Company
Funding at CGEM. “Policies in favor of women’s integration contribute
to higher economic growth.”
Despite growing female literacy, the Middle East and North Africa has by
far the lowest rates of female labor participation (16 percent) and female
business co-ownership (23 percent) in the world. (The global average for
female labor force participation is 33 percent and the rate of business
co-ownership is 35 percent). The event explored why better education has
not translated into more economic opportunities for women. It also examined
the many legal restrictions that prevent women from working in the region.
Of all the world’s regions, MENA has seen the least number of legal reforms
pertaining to gender equality in the last five decades.
“Addressing women’s increasing needs for financial services isn’t just
a moral imperative; it makes good business sense as it allows banks to
tap into an underserved, profitable customer segment,” said Xavier Reille,
IFC Country Manager for the Maghreb region. “Encouraging women entrepreneurs
will help boost Maghreb countries’ economic growth, which would lead to
increased prosperity for all.”
The conference, which was sponsored by the Swiss State Secretariat for
Economic Affairs, is part of a larger IFC effort to drive gender-aware
and inclusive business growth of companies in the private sector, thereby
boosting economic development in emerging markets.
The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises represents the private
sector in interactions with public authorities and institutions. It speaks
on behalf of its 88,000 affiliated members and ensures a favorable business
environment. Since its creation in 1947, CGEM has been representing and
promoting member companies operating in different sectors.
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 with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3
billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the
power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org