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IFC, CGEM Join Forces to Support Women Entrepreneurs in Maghreb Countries

Casablanca, Morocco – WEBWIRE

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. 

About CGEM 
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. 

About IFC 
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 

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