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WTO Launches $50m Fund to Empower Female Entrepreneurs in Developing World

WTO Launches $50m Fund to Empower Female Entrepreneurs in Developing World

The World Trade Organization (WTO) unveiled a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering female entrepreneurship in developing countries. Led by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the $50 million fund seeks to leverage the digital economy to facilitate the export endeavors of women-led businesses.

The announcement comes on the eve of the 13th ministerial conference of the WTO, slated to commence on February 29 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Okonjo-Iweala, joined by Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi, emphasized the significance of the initiative in empowering women globally. She highlighted the pressing need for innovative solutions to address the financing challenges hindering the growth of female-led enterprises.

“We need catalytic solutions to solve the financing issue that women face,” remarked Okonjo-Iweala.

The fund aims to equip businesses owned by women in developing nations with the necessary resources to embrace digital technologies and enhance their online presence, thereby opening up new avenues for growth and expansion.

Echoing Okonjo-Iweala’s sentiments, Minister al-Zeyoudi affirmed the UAE’s commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs, pledging a contribution of $5 million to the fund. He underscored the pivotal role of women-led businesses in driving economic prosperity and emphasized the importance of celebrating their contributions on a global scale.

“While women are one half the world’s population, they only contribute 37 percent to the global GDP,” noted Minister al-Zeyoudi, underscoring the need to address existing disparities and unlock the full economic potential of women entrepreneurs.

Saudi Arabian Minister of Commerce Majid al-Kasabi also voiced his country’s unwavering support for the initiative, hailing it as a “milestone” in the journey towards female empowerment. He reiterated Saudi Arabia’s dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of women-led enterprises.

The announcement garnered widespread praise from stakeholders across the globe, with many lauding the initiative as a significant step towards gender equality and inclusive economic development.

Okonjo-Iweala emphasized the importance of providing women entrepreneurs with access to adequate financing, citing it as a common refrain among those she has encountered. By addressing this crucial need, the fund seeks to empower women to scale their businesses and capitalize on the vast opportunities presented by global trade.

As the international community prepares to convene for the WTO ministerial conference, the launch of the $50 million fund underscores the organization’s commitment to fostering gender equality and empowering women in the realm of global commerce.

Stay tuned for further updates on this groundbreaking initiative as it unfolds during the WTO ministerial conference in the UAE.

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