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IFC Fosters Discussion on Gender Balance in Georgian Business


In Tbilisi:
Nino Kartozia


Phone: +995 32 92 35 23/24/27
Cell: +995 99 16 13 30
E-mail: nkartozia@ifc.org

Tamar Barbakadze
Phone: +995 32 92 35 23/24/27
Cell: +995 99 10 29 19
E-mail: tbarbakadze@ifc.org

In Moscow:
Ilya Sverdlov
Phone: +7 495 411-7555 x 2075
E-mail: isverdlov@ifc.org

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 respective companies.

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 our project.”

This IFC advisory work is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and BP and its oil and gas partners.

About IFC
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. BP, www.bp.com.