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  • Monday, 04 March 2024

Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat Participates in Ringing the Egyptian Stock Exchange Bell to celebrate International Women's Day

● Minister of International Cooperation: We follow an approach consistent with national strategies to create international partnerships that support women’s empowerment efforts.

● Formulate and implement many programs and initiatives with international financial institutions to provide technical and financial support to women, bridge the gender gap, and increase the rate of financial inclusion.

● Egypt is one of the first countries to launch a National Strategy for Women’s Empowerment 2030.

● Empowering women is not just an increase in representation rates, but it provides the opportunity for qualified women to assume leadership positions.

The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat participated in ringing the bell of the Egyptian Stock Exchange this morning, along with Ambassador Soha El-Gendy, Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates' Affairs, and Mr. Ahmed El-Sheikh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, and a number of female representatives of the House of Representatives and Senate, and board members of companies listed on the stock exchange, as part of the Egyptian Stock Exchange’s celebration of International Women’s Day, organized in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In her speech, Al-Mashat said that the past decades have witnessed progress in terms of equal opportunities between men and women, with improved women’s access to education and leadership positions, in addition to the implementation of laws and legislation targeting gender equality. However, many challenges remain. The economic and social issues women face, such as access to suitable job opportunities, obtaining appropriate financing for projects, and providing capacity building and training programs. In this context, Egypt, under the leadership of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, is keen to strengthen efforts to empower women economically and socially and increase their role in society.

International Partnerships to Empower Women

The Minister of International Cooperation explained that the Ministry works in partnership with multilateral and bilateral development partners, the private sector, and national entities, to support and empower women, noting that in light of the challenges that the world faces recently, many international institutions have highlighted that women’s participation in the economy will lead to increased GDP and economic growth. Thus the issue of gender equality has become a priority that unites the world through multilateral partnerships.

H.E. added that the government is keen to launch strategies, initiatives and community programs that support women, which has contributed to building their capabilities and empowering them politically, economically and socially. Egypt is the first country in the world to launch a national strategy to empower women in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the National Strategy for Women’s Empowerment 2030, launched in 2017. This is a roadmap for the Egyptian government to implement all programs and activities related to women’s empowerment.

She stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation follows an approach consistent with the strategy, stemming from the Ministry’s belief in women’s capabilities and always works to empower women at all levels through our partnership and cooperation with development partners, pointing out that partnerships between the government and development partners such as the IFC  play an effective role in promoting gender equality. Many steps have been taken to ensure women’s access to economic opportunities through reforms and initiatives such as the project to enhance women’s economic participation in Egypt. The recent agreements between the IFC and the National Council for Women (NCW) also confirm the promotion of women’s economic participation. These agreements focus on expanding women’s access to bank loans, promoting gender equality in wages, and increasing flexible work options.

Moreover, H.E. stated that partnerships with the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have contributed to raising the integration and economic empowerment of women, as the most important priorities for sustainable development in Egypt, by supporting structural reforms. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has also strengthened its support for women entrepreneurs through programs such as the Women in Business Initiative, with the aim of providing financial assistance and advisory services, and enhancing the capabilities of women-led companies, especially in governorates outside Cairo and Alexandria. Last year, the bank provided 200 consulting projects for small and medium-sized companies, including 40 companies for women, 70 companies for youth, and 28 high-growth startup companies.

Economic and Social Empowerment Program with the USAID

H.E. pointed to the economic and social empowerment program for women funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), whose objectives include working with private sector companies to implement broad policies to improve the work environment for women, and increase the financial inclusion of women in various governorates by providing them with digital financial services, bank cards and electronic wallets. Through this, women are more confident in conducting business and banking transactions, as H.E. noted that the program succeeded during the past year in reaching 1,900 women to provide them with financial education training courses, and to assist with joint courses for the facilitators of the “تحويشة” initiative, which is implemented through the National Council for Women.

Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator

The Ministry of International launched the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator in partnership with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum in July 2020, which is the first model of its kind for cooperation between the public and private sectors in Africa and the Middle East region, with the aim of helping governments and companies take decisive action to close economic gender gaps, increase women's participation in the workforce, close gender wage gaps, push more women into management and leadership positions, and gender equality in the future of work.

H.E. stated that these pillars and objectives of the incentive are consistent with the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) of UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact, in addition to the Egyptian Seal of Gender Equality, which was launched by the National Council for Women in partnership with the World Bank, noting that the Ministry’s development cooperation portfolio includes 60 projects with 20 Development partner for 4 years.

The Minister thanked Mr. Ahmed El-Sheikh, Chairman of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, for organizing this event, applauding the development achieved at the level of legislation in the financial market, which contributed to a larger number of women assuming leadership positions in positions listed on the Stock Exchange, in addition to a woman assuming the position of Vice President of the Stock Exchange. H.E. added that empowering women is not just an increase in representation rates, but it provides the opportunity for qualified women to assume leadership positions.