$50m Fund Launched by WTO For Female Entrepreneurs in Developing World

By: GWL Team | Monday, 26 February 2024

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organisation, announced the launch of a $50 million fund aimed at helping female entrepreneurs in developing countries. The fund intends to enable women entrepreneurs to increase exports by leveraging opportunities brough to the fore by the digital economy.

The Director General made the announcement at the heels of the 13th ministerial WTO conference which is slated to be held from February 29 in the United Arab Emirates.

Okonjo-Iweala, described the fund as a "ground-breaking initiative... embodies our collective commitment to empower women". He was speaking alongside Thani al-Zeyoudi, the Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

"We need catalytic solutions to solve the financing issue that women face," she added.

The $50 million fund will focus on businesses in the developing countries, headed by women entrepreneurs with the intension of strengthening their online presence by usage of digital technologies.            

Thani al-Zeyoudi stated that the UAE will contribute $5 million to the fund. He further stated that "this initiative allows us to celebrate the invaluable contribution of women entrepreneurs and women led businesses around the world and to recognise the critical role they play in driving economic growth".

"While women are one half the world's population, they only contribute 37 percent to the global GDP," he said.

Majid al-Kasabi, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Commerce was also present at the announcement and dubbed it as a "milestone" and said his country was "dedicated" to supporting female empowerment.

"A common refrain among them (women entrepreneurs) is the need for adequate financing to scale their businesses and to tap into the vast opportunities of global trade", noted Okonjo-Iweala.