Baku, Azerbaijan, March 9, 2017—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the Baku Stock Exchange today joined
over 40 stock exchanges around the world to “Ring the Bell for Gender
Equality,” highlighting the importance of gender equality for private
sector growth and sustainable development.
The Baku Stock Exchange event attracted more than 60 private sector, government
and international development institution representatives. The discussion
focused on how empowering women can result in higher productivity, more
customers, and a stronger bottom line for private companies, ultimately
leading to increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Research shows that each person has his or her specific strengths in
the workplace, regardless of whether they are male or female,” said Vugar
Namazov, Acting CEO, the Baku Stock Exchange. “Our aim is to properly
use and balance our most precious resource—human capital—to boost equality,
and also highlight the importance of women’s role in the private sector
and the decision-making process.”
According to a new report from the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative
with GIZ, women-owned small businesses could add around $285 billion to
the global economy if better served, while the global economy could be
up to $28 trillion larger in 2025 if gender gaps were eliminated.
“Reducing the gender gap can help companies improve financial performance
and investor confidence, so gender equality is also an economic need,”
said Aliya Azimova, IFC Country Representative in Azerbaijan. “Research
shows a positive link between female participation on corporate boards
and good governance, so IFC is working to build capacity, raise awareness,
and expand the discussion about gender diversity on boards in emerging
markets, including in Azerbaijan.”
This is the third global Ring the Bell event
in line with International Women’s Day. Organized by IFC and the Sustainable
Stock Exchanges Initiative, together
with the UN
Global Compact, UN
in ETFs and the World
Federation of Exchanges, it
aims to highlight the role the private sector can play in advancing
gender equality and sustainable development.
The Baku event is supported by IFC’s Corporate
Governance Program in Europe and Central Asia, funded by Switzerland’s
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Azerbaijan became a member of IFC in 1995.
Since then, IFC has invested $473 million, of which nearly $73 million
was mobilized from other lenders, financing 56 long-term projects across
a range of sectors, including financial services, infrastructure, and manufacturing
sectors. In addition, IFC has supported around $80 million in trade through
its trade finance program and provided $250 million for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline. IFC has also implemented a range of advisory projects aimed at
encouraging private sector growth. In fiscal year 2016, IFC invested almost
$19 billion in developing countries worldwide.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working
with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to
create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments
in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital,
expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty
and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
For more information about SECO, please visit: www.seco-cooperation.admin.ch