Dubai, UAE, 17 February 2020: The second day of the We-Fi MENA Regional Summit, organised on the sidelines of Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020, featured a series of capacity-building workshops aimed at spurring action and generating support for women entrepreneurs in the MENA region and around the world. The Summit, which was co-organised by Dubai Women Establishment and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) – a ground-breaking multi-national partnership launched in 2017 and housed in the World Bank Group – was held in Dubai for the first time in the region.
Led by various industry experts and thought leaders, the training sessions provided We-Fi Summit participants an opportunity to benefit from key skills training covering a wide range of topics, including tracking finance; women-led enterprises; leveraging e-commerce; growing sales; value chain partnerships; and support for female business owners in conflict-torn regions. The sessions also discussed ways to encourage women business leaders by improving access to capital and combating legal discrimination against female entrepreneurs
The first workshop, titled ‘Value Chain Partnership’, brought together large corporates, financial service providers, development finance institutions and NGOs to explore ways to expand the number of women-led businesses engaged in global value chains. The session, organised by EBRD, IFC, and World Bank, discussed how partnerships can be built to solve multifaceted challenges of getting women into value chains – given that their participation represents only 1%.
A workshop titled ‘BRAVE Women Symposium’ discussed ways to support female entrepreneurs in fragile and conflict-affected countries. The session facilitated the sharing of experiences, knowledge and best practices, and identified measures to improve support to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in conflict-torn regions.
In another We-Fi workshop held on the second day of the GWFD, under the title ‘Partnering to Accelerate Women-Led Businesses Growth’, participants learned how accelerators and funders can design programmes to help women entrepreneurs access capital and scale up their businesses. The session included a structured brainstorming activity, in the form of breakout groups made up of accelerators, seed funds, and venture capital firms, to shore up innovative solutions.
In a separate workshop titled ‘Business, Women, & The Law’ participants took part in a deep discussion on how women are affected by legal gender discrimination at every stage of their working lives. Joined by key reformers in MENA, who shared their experiences as speakers, the session was aimed at building on the reform process in MENA and catalyzing action.
The last workshop titled ‘E-Commerce Clinic’ offered entrepreneurs key insights and skills training on how they can expand their market reach and grow sales. The session reviewed the selling requirements for some of the active e-commerce platforms in the MENA region and provided tips on online marketing, order fulfillment, customer care and how to manage their relationships and accounts across different platforms.
Organised over two days, The We-Fi MENA Regional Summit brought together over 200 delegates, including high-level Government representatives from MENA and We-Fi donor countries, leaders from the multilateral development banks, their private and public-sector partners and 20 women entrepreneurs from emerging economies from around the region.
The Summit was aimed at spurring action to accelerate women entrepreneurship throughout the MENA region; showcasing programmes, institutions and research that help enhance policies and expand women entrepreneurs’ access to finance, markets, training and mentoring; and engaging women entrepreneurs to generate inspiring new ideas. The event featured sessions offering in-depth discussions, as well as learning and networking opportunities.
The second edition of Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, organised by the Dubai Women Establishment under the theme ‘The Power of Influence’, highlighted the dynamic women across governments and the business world, as well as their significant impact and valuable contributions across the global economy and society.
GWFD focused on the importance of adopting policies and building partnerships that heighten women’s role and influence in four main focus areas: government, economy, society and future. Each of the four areas were addressed in extensive sessions led by local and global speakers and experts from various sectors.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was formed on 1 January, 1992, by a decree issued by the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to merge Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department, which had been operating independently before then. Both organisations were established by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1959. Dubai Government fully supported the Electricity Company and the Water Department to provide Dubai’s citizens and residents with a continuous and reliable supply of electricity and water. Since then, DEWA has made considerable achievements, to be ranked as one of the best utilities in the world. DEWA provides services today to more than 900,000 customers with a happiness rate that reached 95% in 2018.
The UAE, represented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has maintained its first global ranking, for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all Getting Electricity indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. DEWA achieved competitive results in global benchmarking, surpassing the private sector and major European and American utilities in efficiency and reliability. DEWA raised the efficiency of its energy production by using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations, surpassing European and American utilities, by reducing losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 3.3% compared to 6–7% in the US and Europe. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML compared to 15 minutes in Europe and was also able to reduce water network losses to 6.5% in 2018 compared to 15% in North America, which is one of the best results in the world.