IFC partners with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on development of women entrepreneurs in Yemen [Archives:2005/854/Local News]

June 27 2005

Sana'a, Yemen – June 18, 2005)The International Finance Corporation's Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (IFC PEP-MENA) organized a three-day financial management training workshop for women entrepreneurs in Yemen under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce in Sana'a June 18-20, 2005. The training session is part of a market and product development process that IFC PEP-MENA has undertaken in Yemen to strengthen women-owned enterprises.

IPF PEP-MENA believes that unleashing the potential of women entrepreneurs is crucial to bolstering private sector development and reducing unemployment in Middle Eastern and North African economies. To identify the barriers that women entrepreneurs face and other factors that affect women-owned businesses in Yemen, IFC PEP-MENA commissioned a survey to support the development of a demand-driven technical assistance program.

Direct Marketing Services (DMS), a local Yemeni firm, conducted the survey. Over 130 male and female entrepreneurs were interviewed)along with a wide range of public, donor, and private small business development stakeholders)during the period April to June 2005. The small business development stakeholders, from both the public and the private sectors, will all have an opportunity to present their input on the survey findings as well as the IFC proposed plan of action at a consultative workshop scheduled for June 21 at the Sheraton Hotel in Sana'a. The report, to be based on the survey findings, will provide the basic for IFC's program to support the growth of existing women-owned and operated enterprises and the creation of jobs in Yemen. One finding of the IFC study is that female entrepreneurs are twice as likely to hire women employees as male entrepreneurs are.

IFC's proposed technical assistance to growth-oriented women-owned enterprises is not only expected to create employment but also to fill a crucial market gap. “It is difficult to get high-quality training and business consulting in Yemen,” said one of the businesswomen interviewed during the IFC survey. “These are very important to the development of our employees and consequently to the growth of our business,” she added.

In addition to the training and groundbreaking research on female entrepreneurs and how to support them in evolving from informal microenterprises to true small businesses, IFC PEP-MENA is conducting studies in three other countries)Egypt, Morocco, and Oman. Generally speaking, regional findings indicate that women can overcome the main challenges to the growth of their businesses and realize their untapped economic potential if they have access to targeted technical assistance.

IFc's (www.ifc.org) mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY2004, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY2004 as $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.