Tbilisi, Georgia, March 3, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, will work with entrepreneurs and the
media in Georgia to increase awareness of gender issues in local business.
To launch the initiative, last week IFC organized a forum, Women
in Business, to identify the main challenges that women entrepreneurs face
in starting a business and to engage the business community in improving
opportunities for women.
This effort was led by IFC Advisory
Services, which is working on the business enabling environment and corporate
governance in Georgia. Discussion topics included international perspectives
on women in business, surveys on gender balance in Georgia, and common
stereotypes of women in the country. Women entrepreneurs spoke about
their experiences in starting and expanding business activities.
Nino Elizbarashvili, President of the
Georgian Association of Women in Business, said, “Women in Georgia are
disproportionately represented in small businesses, especially unregistered
businesses, so it’s important to consider their needs. Also, women often
face additional challenges. For example, banks are less inclined to lend
to women, either because bankers wrongly assume that women are less likely
to succeed or because women often do not hold titles to family property,
and thus have more trouble producing collateral for loans.”
IFC will continue to mobilize public
attention and promote discourse on gender topics in business in Georgia.
In its effort to reduce administrative barriers to running and operating
small businesses, IFC will also include gender specific questions in its
surveys on the business environment. IFC is planning to hold seminars for
female managers, with emphasis on their roles and input in running their
Irina Gordeladze, Manager of the IFC
Georgia Corporate Governance Project, noted, “IFC has been working on
implementing good governance among Georgian companies and banks since 2003.
Echoing worldwide trends, there are very few women represented in governing
bodies of local companies and banks. We will be looking at these
issues in addition to our core activities during the implementation of
This IFC advisory work is funded by the
Canadian International Development Agency and BP and its oil and gas partners.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment,
mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets,
and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty
and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized
an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance
for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory
services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Georgia became a shareholder and a member of IFC in 1995. As of September
30, 2007, IFC has committed nearly $258 million in 23 projects in the country’s
financial, power, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors. In addition to
investments, IFC conducts advisory programs to promote corporate governance
and improve the business enabling environment, with support from donors.
For more information about IFC’s partners, please visit: CIDA, www.acdi-cida.gc.ca.