Her Excellency Mona Ghanem Al Marri: “We are excited to see women play a vital role in diverse industries as we further advance our support so they succeed and excel in their personal and professional goals.”
Dubai, UAE, 16 February 2020: The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) hosted a ministerial roundtable as part of the first We-Fi MENA Regional Summit being held on the sidelines of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 (GWDF).
The roundtable, which highlighted key issues on the state of women’s economic empowerment in the MENA region, was aimed at creating a platform for leaders to share experiences and discuss opportunities to support women entrepreneurs, reinforce commitment and move to collective action.
Participants in the ministerial roundtable included Her Excellency Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board and Managing Director of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President of the United States of America. Ministers from several countries in the region including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi and Morocco also convened at the roundtable.
HE Mona Ghanem Al Marri, said: “It is truly an honour to be a part of such an outstanding initiative that strives to provide women in the region with opportunities to succeed and excel in their personal and professional goals. We are excited to see women play a vital role in diverse industries as we further advance our support in all aspects of entrepreneurship.”
The discussion focused on two main topics – reforming laws, policies and regulations needed to support the economic empowerment of women, and accelerating access to finance for women-led businesses. The open dialogue allowed countries in the MENA region to share successes, discuss challenges and build more supportive enabling environments for women entrepreneurs and change makers to flourish and advance in their careers.
Earlier in the day, We-Fi also hosted a luncheon that underlined the importance of the initiative and its impact on women entrepreneurs in the UAE and MENA. The luncheon attendees were welcomed by Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi Secretariat. Geoffrey Okamoto, Chair of We-Fi Steering Committee, and Thierno Diallo, Director-General of the Islamic Bank also spoke to the attendees.
The summit engaged with more than 250 attendees of entrepreneurs, MDB leadership, Private Sector Partners and guests from numerous international organizations to take action and make a difference in policy issues, e-commerce, accelerators and banking and policy reforms for women entrepreneurs.
Teleki added: “We hope to inspire and encourage women from not only MENA, but all over the world to continue to persist and persevere with their entrepreneurial aims and objectives as they have our support every step of the way.” The We-Fi MENA Regional Summit is co-organised by Dubai Women Establishment and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a ground-breaking international partnership launched in 2017 to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries. We-Fi has allocated $249 million to programs that will benefit over 114,000 women-owned SMEs and mobilise $2.6 billion from the public and private sector. The initiative, which is housed in the World Bank and implemented by six multilateral development banks, is supported by 14 donors, including the UAE government, which was one of the first contributors.
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.