Women in Business

Policies to Support Women's Entrepreneurship Development in the MENA Region

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This publication provides an overview of approaches and measures in MENA-OECD Investment Programme economies to promote, support and advance women's entrepreneurship development in the Middle East and North Africa. It covers such issues as access to credit and business development services and information and information on data collection and research on women entrepreneurs in the MENA area.



MENA women entrepreneurs' access to credit and financial services

This chapter examines women entrepreneurs’ access to finance in the MENA region and the specific financing challenges they face. More than in other parts of the world, MENA women, like their male counterparts, finance their business activities through personal savings or family members and friends. The underdeveloped financial markets in MENA limit options for male and female entrepreneurs alike, but women entrepreneurs are also confronted with gender-specific obstacles such as insufficient collateral, limited financial literacy, or a lack of funding for women-led businesses that have moved beyond the micro-financing stage. Women are also generally outside the targeted clientele of commercial banks, credit guarantee schemes, venture capital firms and business angel networks, perhaps in part due to the underdevelopment of public or private credit bureaus in the region.


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