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Female Entrepreneurship in the Middle East

Women are facing many challenges in the entrepreneurial field especially when it comes to acquiring funds.


The access of women to the business field in the MENA region has improved in the recent years due to the ease of access to capital.

Payfort expected for Women in the Arab world to continue making up a larger portion of business by 2020.

However the percentage of women in business is still below the global average of 30% and is growing slowly.

An infographic by Payfort reasoned that with several challenges that face female entrepreneurs like learning financial management skills, finding and keeping good employees, access to capital
and high cost of public services.

In Egypt, being approved for capital is more difficult for women, some banks consider loaning businesswomen is more risky than their male counterparts. That's why international and local initiatives are aiming to encourage female businesswomen especially in rural Egypt.

Th World Bank introduced in 2012 a $300 million line of credit for SMEs and targeting women in poor rural areas of Egypt.

Also NGOs like the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women and B'edeyah are helping empowering Egyptian women in business.

According to the infographic Females are sole owners of business in Lebanon by 40% and Bahrain 60%.
Women led jobs generate around 6 jobs in Jordan and 19 in Tunisia.

Female businesswomen are more optimistic about growth and more ready to expand their business. They are participate in global trade as 20% of female owned business imports international products while 6% exports local products.