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BWF – Palestine launches the Regional Project in partnership with UNIDO

BWF launched the Regional Project “Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women through Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the MENA Region” funded by the Italian government and in partnership with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The program is implemented in six MENA Countries (Palestine, Jordan, Egypt. Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia).  The project aims at promoting investment at the regional and international levels through developing the capacities of women entrepreneurs, promoting networking, and influencing policies.

More than thirty persons  participated the launching event that took place at the Bank of Palestine Headquarters. Participants are representatives of  governmental,   private sector, and non-governmental organizations.    

Ms. Maha Abu Shusha, Chairwoman of BWF, opened the event , stressing on the BWF’s role in promoting economic participation of Palestinian women.  She considered this project as one of the important opportunities through which Palestinian businesswomen will be able to communicate directly with international investors.

In her presentation, Ms. Monica Carco, Investment and Technology Unit Chief at UNIDO, said that this project was based on studies and research supported by data on the economic participation of women in the MENA Region, which is characterized by high unemployment rate and lack of entrepreneurial activity compared to women around the world particularly among young women.

BWF’s Executive Director, Ms. Doa Wadi, talked about the importance of the project in opening development opportunities for women entrepreneurs through the Milan International Expo in Italy that will be held in October 2015.  Ms. Wadi called upon the partners from the line ministries and private sector institutions, and organizations to encourage women to participate in the events and activities of the international expo, which includes a conference to present the results of the regional study on the reality of women entrepreneurs in the region especially the countries participating in the project in addition to the networking events and business  the expo will make available for women entrepreneurs.

Access to capital is a main challenge  to  women  entrepreneurs, as well as youth and other marginalized groups , the project offers the COMFAR Program (financial tool for small projects) on which some of the banks and institutions will be trained in Amman during August 2015 to use for facilitating the access of women entrepreneurs to financial sources.  The representative of the Italian Cooperation has also participated in a speech in which he stressed on the importance of cooperation between the Italian and the Palestinian governments to facilitate access to capital through the provision of soft long loans to businesswomen.

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