IFC launches MENA Women Banking Champions program to support female entrepreneurs
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching its MENA Women Banking Champions program in Maghreb to help expand access to finance and boost financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.
IFC and Morocco’s Central Bank (Bank Al-Maghrib), signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Rabat this week to advance Morocco’s national financial inclusion strategy and support a better access to finance for women-led businesses. The collaboration will focus on enabling better data and insights on women’s access to financial services provided by banks and financial institutions.
IFC’s Women Banking Champions program in MENA is implemented in partnership with Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. “Switzerland is proud to be contributing to the project ‘Women Banking Champions’ which corresponds to several of its priorities in terms of international cooperation, namely strengthening financial inclusion and increasing gender equality,” said Benjamin Frey, head of cooperation at the embassy of Switzerland in Morocco.
The Middle East and North Africa region currently has the largest financial inclusion gender gap of any region in the world. About 56 percent of men but only 38 percent of women have a bank account. “We believe in women entrepreneurs as change agents and drivers of economic growth,” said Xavier Reiller, IFC Country Manager for Morocco, Tunis and Algeria. “IFC is working to address this gap in Morocco, and more broadly across the region. Our partnership with Bank Al-Maghrib will help all banks across the country develop the strategies they need to serve this key untapped segment,” he added.
IFC is planning a series of knowledge forums and events to share global best practice to the banking community in Morocco over the next year. IFC’s Women Banking Champions program in MENA is part of IFC’s global Banking on Women program. Since its launch in 2010, IFC has invested, mobilized investment and provided expertise to over 50 financial institutions in 34 countries, with a cumulative committed portfolio of $1.35 billion, to catalyze financial services to women-owned SMEs around the world.