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Ethiopian women get World Bank support

The World Bank has approved a USD50 million credit from the International Development Association for a project to support women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia.

The World Bank says major obstacles that hinder the role female entrepreneurs can play in Ethiopia’s economy include limited access to vital resources such as finance, land, training, education, and effective business networks. Particularly, the microfinance institutions in Ethiopia have a low coverage for women entrepreneurs and do not provide suitable financing.

In order to alleviate these challenges, the World Bank has created an innovative project specifically targeted to female entrepreneurs in Mekele, Bahir Dar, Hawasa, Adama, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

The project aims to increase the earnings and employment of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) owned by female entrepreneurs by improving access to financial services and by providing working capital and investment finance through a dedicated line of credit. It will also improve existing Micro Finance Institutions’ capacity to provide tailored financial products to these female entrepreneurs.

According to recent estimates, in addition to creating employment for women in the economic sectors, reducing gender inequalities in education and the labor market could increase Ethiopia’s annual GDP growth by almost 1.9 percentage points.

In addition to providing financing, the project will build the women entrepreneurs’ skills, facilitate their access to technologies that will help them be more productive, and unleash synergies from clustering.

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