Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat - Press Photo
CAIRO - 18 October 2020: "Over the past few years, Egyptian women’s economic participation has increased, as the percentage of women holding bank accounts has increased from 9 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2017," Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat stated Sunday.
Al-Mashat added that 51 percent percent of microfinance loans were granted to women and 69 percent benefited from small enterprise loans in 2018.
Through the Ministry of International Cooperation, around 34 projects, are being executed with various partners to achieve the targets of gender equality, with the top targeted sectors including Health (20 percent), Education (14 percent), and MSMEs (15 percent).
This came during Al-Mashat's participation in the virtual event ‘Ensuring Sustainable Recovery: Public and Private Sector Solutions to Close Growing Gender Gaps’ as part of the annual meetings organized by the World Bank this week.
The event included the participation of Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank, Hans Peter Lankes, IFC's Vice President of Economics and Private Sector Development, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in Nigeria, Mats Granryd, Director General, GSM Association and Anila Denaj, Minister of Finance and the Economy in Albania.
The webinar discussed the role of public and private sector initiatives to scale up efforts and drive investments towards a sustained economic recovery. It called for innovative approaches to closing gender gaps in emergency response and how the private sector can support women employees and women-owned firms in value chains.
Egypt: Shaping a gender-equitable post-COVID-19 world
The minister noted that Egypt’s national strategy is committed to shaping a gender-equitable post-COVID-19 world, as evidenced by the recent report of the United Nations and UNDP, which ranked Egypt first in the Middle East and West Asia economies for taking 21 measures to support women during the Corona pandemic.
Engaging the private sector in advancing gender equality has been part of Egypt’s policy, the minister added, referring to the ‘Gender Gap Accelerator’ that was launched in collaboration with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum, which is a public-private collaboration model to preparing women for the post coronavirus (COVID-19) world of work and push decisive action to close economic gender gaps.
For the first time in Africa and the Middle East, the accelerator will serve as a multi-stakeholder platform to streamline efforts and push for coordinate action to expedite the implementation of fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In regards to the role of the public sector, the minister noted that the government expanded the Takaful and Karama social protection programs to an additional 100,000 households, where women already represent 88% of the programs’ beneficiaries
The government also increased the monthly income for women leaders in rural communities from LE 300 to LE 900 per month and integrated women aged 65 and above in nursing homes under the umbrella of social protection.