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28 February 2024

World Bank comes to the rescue

By Anjana Sankar

The World Bank is in favour of increased transfer of financial resources to the Middle East to help women empower themselves in emerging economic and business sectors, said a senior officer. Daniela Gressani (pictured above), vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank, said.

“The World Bank contributes over $1 billion (Dh3.6bn) annually to the region, and we are in support of allocating more resources, especially as the investment climate here is supportive of women’s entrepreneurship and economic participation,” Gressani told Emirates Business on the sidelines of the recent Arab International Women’s Forum.

“A recent study we conducted in eight Arab countries, by surveying 5,000 firms showed that 13 per cent of all businesses are owned by women. But they lag behind when compared to other countries of similar income level,” said Gressani.

According to her, the region needs to realign its economic orientation to focus on private sector development and gender equality as it is posed with the challenge of finding jobs for a new breed of young, educated


“The World Bank has already invested over $200m (Dh734m) in private business in the Middle East. We also play an active role in helping the women entrepreneurs by sharing knowledge, offering technical know-how, helping them find access to capital and help them come up with bankable proposals,” she said.

Gressani also added that GCC countries have created the right atmosphere for women entrepreneurs by passing business and economic legislation that is conducive for gender equality.