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.



The untapped potential of women's entrepreneurship

This chapter offers an overview of women’s entrepreneurship levels, both globally and in the MENA region. MENA governments have made notable improvements in recent years to their policy frameworks and support measures for private enterprise development. They have also expressed commitment to supporting and fostering women's entrepreneurship development. There has also been an increase in survey-based research on women entrepreneurs in the region, no doubt contributing to a better understanding of their unique characteristics and challenges. Nevertheless, MENA women’s participation rates in the formal economy – including as entrepreneurs – remain among the lowest in the world. This contrasts with the increased investment in female education in the region and MENA women’s improving educational outcomes. The potential of women's entrepreneurship to bring economic growth, develop jobs and reduce poverty in the region is undeniable and this chapter suggests that it be can be unleashed through further policy support.


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