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Women in Business 2014

Accelerating Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa Region

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Women in Business 2014 summarises the progress made by the OECD-MENA Women Business Forum (WBF) since the publication of its first Women in Business report in 2012. In 2012, five groups of actions had been identified as priorities to be carried out by governments, international stakeholders, financial and business support organisations, as well as statistical agencies. In two years, the WBF has developed inputs for three of these areas of priority actions. The WBF’s contributions are growing along with its increased recognition as a hub which spurs concrete improvements in the business climate for women entrepreneurs in the MENA region.

Today, women’s entrepreneurship is all the more important as governments in the region are facing the colossal challenge of rebooting job creation to improve the well-being of a growing workforce and confidence in the economy. The economic prospects of MENA economies that are going through a political transition have improved but unemployment has increased, inflation is rising and public finances have deteriorated. In these countries, political uncertainties add to long term structural difficulties. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the challenges still lie in the diversification of their economies.

 

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Expanding the financing options of women-led businesses in the MENA region

This chapter addresses issues related to the supply and demand sides of financing for women-led businesses in the MENA region. The first section presents a supply-side analysis of banks' financing practices, based on the results of a survey of banks carried out by the OECD in collaboration with the Union of Arab Banks. The section reviews whether banks consider women's businesses as a market for their own development, the amounts and types of loans they provide to those businesses and the ways and means to enhance the proportion of bank lending to women's businesses. The second section consists of a practical guide to improving the demand side of lending to women-led businesses, by providing concrete advice to women on how to approach banks for financing their businesses, within the context of the larger financing needs of their businesses.

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