UNIDO successfully concludes project on promoting women's empowerment in the MENA region and initiates a second phase

UNIDO successfully concludes project on promoting women's empowerment in the MENA region and initiates a second phase

BARCELONA, 3-4 May 2018 – Public and private sector representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia came together to review the achievements of the UNIDO project “Promoting Women’s Empowerment (PWE) for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region”, which was funded by the Italian government and which also received the label of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

From February 2015 onwards, UNIDO contributed to enhancing women’s economic inclusion by improving, together with ministries of industry and women’s business associations in the countries of coverage, entrepreneurship opportunities. “PWE greatly contributed to increasing the economic benefits at the individual level, but will also contribute to sustainable economic and social well-being,” said Abeer Ramadna, UNIDO Focal Point at the Jordanian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply. “The project has enhanced the policy dialogue on women’s economic empowerment at national and regional levels, while reinforcing the role of national women’s business associations as providers of business development services and enhancing their networking capacities.”

Other national stakeholders concurred, as the project significantly contributed to improving the ecosystem for women-led entrepreneurship: amongst other results, 276 women received support in business formulation, 44% more advisory services were provided, leading to an increase of more than 70% in the facilitation of business linkages, promotion and networking, while membership in business associations rose by more than 29%. “An independent evaluation of the project highlighted the added value of adopting a holistic approach,” said Monica Carco, UNIDO Senior Industrial Development Officer. “The project effectively addressed the macro, meso and micro levels, and I am hopeful that we can scale up our approach, build on best practices, lessons learned and challenges identified for a second phase.”

Based on the many results of the first phase, and with the continued support of the Government of Italy and the Union for the Mediterranean, UNIDO developed a second phase in cooperation with UN Women and FAO that will leverage each partner’s respective expertise, particularly in policy and advocacy, to provide technical assistance to advance women’s productive practices.

“In the MENA region, women continue to face significant challenges, which in turn stifle the overall sustainable economic and social development of the region,” said Pierre Omran of the Lebanese Ministry of Industry of Lebanon. “We can build on the cooperation between ministries of industry and agriculture, and adding a new engagement with women/social affairs ministries will greatly benefit the second phase.”

The consultation workshops brought together representatives from ministries dealing with industry, economic development, agriculture, and women affairs, as well as representatives from women business associations, some of which were already engaged in the PWE’s first phase. The new project will focus on fostering an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs, including alleviating persisting levels of rural marginalization; improving access to technologies and information; and improving control over resources. This will be complemented by building women’s capacities to improve the quality and quantity of their production, allowing them to seize opportunities for local, regional and international market integration.

For more information, please contact:

Monica Carco

UNIDO Senior Industrial Development Officer