World Bank IFC to support women in biz

World Bank IFC to support women in biz

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen meets Head of IFC’s Gender Secretariat Henriette Kolb

Plans to partner with 15 firms to increase jobs for women, four-year plan to help private sector bridge gender gap (strap) 

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has extended support in the form of a four year effort to directly partner with 15 local companies to involve more women in corporate decision making, the Industry and Commerce Ministry said in a statement yesterday. 

IFC is ready for a pioneering, four-year-long intervention in Sri Lankan women’s business – and to directly partner with 15 Lankan firms to enlist more women in corporate decision making, the statement said. 

“We will start e-biz training in November for entrepreneurs to take them online. We look forward to IFC’s support in our women entrepreneur initiatives at all levels including micro and SMEs,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was quoted as saying at the meeting. 

It is estimated that Sri Lanka has 1.09 million micro, SME and large enterprises, of which around 587,300 are registered while another 432,300 are not. As much as 25% of all registered enterprises are owned by women.

 The breakdown is 26.3% in micro scale, 8.3% in small scale, 6.1% of medium scale and 4.6% of large scale enterprises under women ownership. If the unregistered 432,300 enterprises are also added, then the women’s stake in the country’s private sector economy is significantly higher than presently believed.  

“We at IFC shall collaborate in your projects. We shall collaborate through the aspects of use of access to technology and finance, women entrepreneurship training and market linkages.  At present we are particularly looking at ICT, tourism, apparel and retailer sectors here. There have been good work done here already, but we are looking at companies for more than just starting an initiative – their concrete commitment to the work in areas of expansion of women customers, and women’s corporate leadership and decision making,” Head of IFC’s Gender Secretariat Henriette Kolb said at the meeting.  

 She noted that IFC is trying to shape a new program in the next few months to work with Lankan companies and the Government on how to optimise sectors that are important to Sri Lanka’s growth. 

“IFC is planning to partner with 15 Lankan firms to enhance their capacities to engage more women for inclusive growth, as part of our bigger global project to partner with 2,000 women’s biz worldwide. In fact, IFC is gearing for a four year major intervention in Sri Lanka that focuses specifically on how the private sector can help bridge the gender gap. With your help, we want to focus together on such aspects as women’s access to finance including housing finance, and trade platforms where women’s expertise can be used much more to strengthen forex oriented industries so that the sectors become more meaningful to women,” she added.


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