51% of microfinance loans granted to Egyptian women entrepreneurs in the context of COVID-19
Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat – Press photo
CAIRO – October 18, 2020: “In recent years, the economic participation of Egyptian women has increased, with the percentage of women holding bank accounts increasing from 9% in 2015 to 27% in 2017”, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said on Sunday.
Al-Mashat added that 51% of microfinance loans went to women and 69% went to small business loans in 2018.
Through the Ministry of International Cooperation, around 34 projects are implemented with various partners to achieve gender equality goals, the main sectors targeted being health (20%), education (14%) and MSMEs (15%).
This happened during Al-Mashat’s participation in the virtual event “Ensuring Sustainable Recovery: Public and Private Sector Solutions to Close Growing Gender Gaps” as part of the annual meetings organized by the World Bank this week.
The event included the participation of Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank, Hans Peter Lankes, Vice President of Economics and Private Sector Development at IFC, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in Nigeria, Mats Granryd, Managing Director, GSM Association and Anila Denaj, Minister of Finance and Economy of Albania.
The webinar discussed the role of public and private sector initiatives in scaling up efforts and spurring investment towards sustained economic recovery. He called for innovative approaches to closing gender gaps in emergency response and how the private sector can support employed women and women-owned businesses in value chains.
Egypt: shaping a post-COVID-19 gender-equitable world
The minister noted that Egypt’s national strategy is committed to shaping a post-COVID-19 gender-equitable world, as evidenced by the recent United Nations and UNDP report, which ranked Egypt at # 1 among economies in the Middle East and West Asia for taking 21 actions to support women during the Corona pandemic.
Engaging the private sector in promoting gender equality is part of Egyptian policy, added the minister, referring to the “gender gap accelerator” which was launched in collaboration with the government. National Council of Women and the World Economic Forum, which is a public-private body. collaborative model to prepare women for the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) world of work and push for decisive action to close economic gender gaps.
For the first time in Africa and the Middle East, the accelerator will serve as a multi-stakeholder platform to streamline efforts and promote coordinated action to accelerate the implementation of the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Regarding the role of the public sector, the Minister noted that the government has extended the Takaful and Karama social protection programs to 100,000 additional households, where women already represent 88% of the beneficiaries of the programs.
The government also increased the monthly income of women leaders in rural communities from LE 300 to LE 900 per month and integrated women aged 65 and over into retirement homes under the aegis of social protection.