About the OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum


The Women's Business Forum brings together more than 500 women and men from business, government and civil society, who are actively working to promote and support women’s economic empowerment in both MENA and non-MENA economies. Members include: CEOs, managers, and entrepreneurs from MENA and OECD countries; representatives of national, regional, and international businesswomen’s associations; civil society; regional and international organisations; and MENA and OECD governments.

Review of business development service provision for MENA women entrepreneurs

The WBF is currently conducting a Review of Business Development Service provision to women entrepreneurs in the MENA region. The recent WBF publication Women in Business: Policies to Support Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region reveals that women entrepreneurs have greater difficulty than men in the MENA region accessing business development services. As a way to identify means of improving women's access to business development services, this project will take stock of existing business development services, measure their impact, and identify their key success factors. Three surveys on Business Development Services, General Business Incubators and Women Business Incubators have been circulated to key contacts and organisations across the 18 economies of the Programme for the data collection phase of this project. Fact-finding missions to key economies are taking place in the second half of 2013.

Reinforcing access to finance for women entrepreneurs in the MENA region

At the request of WBF members, a study was launched in 2013 to better understand the supply-side context of women’s business financing across the MENA region. In cooperation with the Union of Arab Banks, this project will:

  • Produce a guide outlining the bank and non‑bank financing solutions available to MENA women entrepreneurs;
  • Assess the impact of bank financing on women-owned businesses to identify gaps and propose actions;
  • Partner with banks to help develop tailored measures to foster the growth of women‑owned businesses.


Meetings and seminars

Women in the private sector in the Middle East and North Africa, Cordoba, Spain, 24-27 March 2014

World Bank MENA Conference - The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in MENA, Breaking Barriers and Advancing financial inclusion, Cairo, 12-13 February 2014

MEDA Finance 2014 conference, Cairo, 9-10 February 2014

2013 OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum on nurturing entrepreneurship and improving women's access to services and financing, Rabat, 2 December 2013

2012 OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum and Conference on fostering youth and women's employment in the MENA region, Paris, 21 November 2012

Women's entrepreneurship in the MENA region, Paris,
23 May 2012

Emerging economies, emerging leaderships: Arab women and youth as drivers of change, Sharjah,  15-17 May 2012

Policies and services to support women’s entrepreneurship development, Paris, 27-28 September 2011

Arab Women in private equity: New frontiers for the MENA region, Paris, 23 May 2011

Growing micro and small enterprises: Tackling financing obstacles in the MENA region, Casablanca,
22-23 February 2011

Enhancing the business enabling environment for women in Arab countries, Beirut, 24 November 2010

Conference on gender equality in government and business, Paris, 4 May 2010

Directory of initiatives supporting women entrepreneurs

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Women in Business: Policies to support women's entrepreneurship development in the MENA region


This publication provides a comparative assessment of policy measures to promote and advance women’s entrepreneurship in 18 MENA economies.




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