The Environment for Women's Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (Orientations in Development)

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9780821374955: The Environment for Women's Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (Orientations in Development)
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The commonly held perception is that businesses owned by women in the Middle East and North Africa are small and informal, that they're less sophisticated, and that they're huddled in low-value-added sectors. In fact, as 'The Environment for Women's Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa' shows, there is very little difference between mail- and female-owned firms. Female-owned firms in the region are as well-established, productive, technologically savvy, and connected to global markets as male-owned firms.

Although there are many similar characteristics and performance levels between male- and female-owned firms in the region, the book notes that women's entrepreneurship is not reaching its potential, despite an investment climate that is much less gendered than suspected. With a significant increase in women's education level--in 11 out of 18 countries in the region women outnumber men in universities--and the strong economic rights women have in Islam, women's entrepreneurship can become a far greater engine for growth and diversification than expected in the past. This potential needs to be exploited vigorously. Reforming the investment climate to benefit all players is one important action. The second would be to remove or mitigate hurdles to their economic and social empowerment.

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"Creating good jobs for our young and educated population is the main challenge of our economies. It cannot be done without unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit and capabilities of every man and woman. The evidence presented in this report makes compelling case why women entrepreneurs should not be overlooked as a potentially serious engine for growth and diversification." --H. E. Mrs. Suheir Al Ali, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

"With this report, the World Bank breaks new ground in shedding light on the extent and the nature of women's entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa region. It provides evidence that women play a not too insignificant role in the economies of the region though they remain underutilized. Nurturing this potential, by removing barriers that women face, must be an integral part of the reform agenda that aims to develop a strong, modern, and diversified private sector. --H. E. Dr. Mahmoud Moieldin, Minister of Investment, Arab Republic of Egypt

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