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World Bank Group new facility to empower women in entrepreneurship

Accra, July 9, GNA –
On the occasion of the G20 leaders’ summit, the World Bank Group has announced
the creation of an innovative new facility, that aims to enable more than $ 1
billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship.

The facility would
also help women in developing countries gain increased access to the finance,
markets, and networks necessary to start and grow a business.

A statement issued by
the World Bank and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Sunday said the United
States initiated the idea for the facility and would serve as a founding member
along with other donor countries.

“This incredible
facility will have a significant impact on women’s economic development around
the world,” US President Donald Trump said.

“It will help increase
opportunities and economic growth while addressing unique barriers women
entrepreneurs face.

“I am proud the United
States is helping to lead support of this unprecedented initiative,” he
added.

The World Bank Group
President Jim Yong Kim said: “Women’s economic empowerment is critical to
achieve the inclusive economic growth required to end extreme poverty, which is
why it has been such a longstanding priority for us.”

“This new
facility offers an unprecedented opportunity to harness both the public and
private sectors to open new doors of opportunity for women entrepreneurs and
women-owned firms in developing countries around the globe,” he added.

The Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Everyone benefits when women have the
resources they need to participate fully in our economies and societies.”

“Our Government
is determined to help women gain the tools they need to be successful
entrepreneurs and leaders. This important investment will help women in
developing countries to create jobs, build economies that work for everyone,
and have a real and fair chance at success,” he said.

Chancellor Merkel of
Germany said: “I am happy that this initiative for women presents real added
value. I want to sincerely thank everyone who worked on it especially the
President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and Ivanka Trump and others. We can
see from the example of this Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative that the
G20 is not just a two-day Summit, but that the G20 is a process”.

“And I don’t have the
slightest doubt that under the leadership of Jim Kim that these will be truly
valuable and productive investments,” she stated.

Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe said: “Women’s active participation in society is one of
the pillars of Abenomics. Women’s empowerment and leadership will diversify and
revitalize organization and societies. This facility embodies such belief in
developing countries, and is promising initiative to achieve society where
women shine.”

The statement said the
Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the first World Bank-led
facility to advance women’s entrepreneurship at this scale, would work to
enable more than $1 billion of financing to improve access to capital, provide
technical assistance, and invest in other projects and programmes that support
women and women-led SMEs in World Bank Group client countries.

It said the goal of
the facility was to leverage donor grant funding – currently more than $ 325
million – to unlock more than $1 billion in IFI and commercial financing by
working with financial intermediaries, funds, and other market actors.

It noted that the
World Bank Group was invited to create the facility by the United States and
Germany, given the Bank Group’s deep experience, track record, and strong
learning and innovation agenda.

The statement said the
initiative received strong donor support Australia, Canada, China, Denmark,
Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab
Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States, enabling the Bank Group to
take the facility from concept to Board endorsement within the year of the
German G20 presidency.

“It’s remarkable how
quickly the international community has mobilised support for this new
initiative, which has exceeded our target by nearly $100 million,” Kim said.

“This demonstrates not
only the importance of increasing women’s economic empowerment, but it scales
up our efforts to help women open and grow businesses.

“We’re grateful
to President Trump, Chancellor Merkel, and Ivanka Trump for being such strong
champions of this facility and the broader cause of women’s
entrepreneurship,” he added.

The statement
explained that We-Fi builds on the success of past and current Bank Group programmes
while reaching into new areas, supporting women-led businesses at earlier
stages of growth, and unlocking access to equity and insurance services.

It said at the same
time, the facility aims to support complementary public sector interventions
that strengthen the enabling environment and enhance market opportunities for
women-owned businesses.

It said We-Fi differs
from current efforts in that it represents a platform to align country-level
reforms and private investment.

It has also built on
and implement lessons learned about what worked for starting and growing female
owned/led firms, collect key data from the public and private sector on female
entrepreneurs and their firms, and support innovation and learning for results
at scale.

It said women
entrepreneurs face numerous challenges to financing, owning, and growing a
business, including limited access to capital and technology, a lack of
networks and knowledge resources, and legal and policy obstacles to business
ownership and development.

The statement said
We-Fi would work to break down barriers to financial access and provide
complementary services such as capacity building, access to networks and
mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets.

It would also improve
the business environment for women-owned or women-led SMEs in supply chains
across the developing world.

It said one of the
major constraints limiting female-led enterprises was access to financial
services.

According to the
statement nearly 70 per cent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries were
either shut out by financial institutions or were unable to receive financial
services on adequate terms to meet their needs.

GNA

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