Conference on Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region


23 May 2012 - OECD Conference Centre

Part of the 2012 OECD Forum, participants at this meeting discussed the means to promote entrepreneurship, and in particular women's entrepreneurship, in the MENA region.


Governments in the Middle East and North Africa are faced with the challenge of reducing structural unemployment and creating urgently needed jobs for the large number of new labour market entrants. Accelerating women's economic participation could catalyse enterprise development in the region, as shown by recent studies by the OECD.

A forthcoming publication by the OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum “Women in Business: Policies to Support Women’s Entrepreneurship  Development in MENA” highlights existing efforts and makes recommendations for future actions by governments, business women’s associations, financial institutions and the international community to improve support for women entrepreneurs.



Haifa Al Kaylani (Chairperson, Arab International Women's Forum, United Kingdom) profile

"In Jordan a law prevents people from working from home. This law is now being addressed. Such laws affect entrepreneurship, particularly among women."


Soukeina Bouraoui (Executive Director, Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research, Tunisia) profile

"Je ne sais pas si on peut parler du progrès dans une période de révolution, mais on peut parler du potentiel. Il faut donner le temps au temps."


Mohammed El Zawy (CEO, Encon and member of the Egyptian Junior Business Association) profile

"There are many women mentors out there. Seeing success stories of other women and empowering them is one of the most important things we can do for the MENA region. If women believe they can do it, they’ll do it."


Anthony O'Sullivan, Head of OECD Private Sector Development Division profile

"A priority is to ensure that anybody with talent, a good idea and a minimum of funding is able to put their business into operation".



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