WSBI as a catalyst for unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs

13 October 2023

9H30am - 12H00pm

Hôtel Du Golf Rotana Palmeraie

Marrakech, Morocco

400 million women entrepreneurs around the world who have vast potential to grow, add value to the economy and create jobs. Yet they face significant obstacles, including an uneven playing field in accessing financing. Closing financing gaps for women entrepreneurs would create $5-6 trillion in potential value addition globally. For financial service providers (FSPs) this represents a $1.7 trillion growth opportunity. This is an opportunity for banks, funds, fintechs, regulators, investors and standard-setting bodies worldwide to step up their efforts and work together to unlock their economic potential.

Leveraging on WSBI’s strategic goal of building inclusive and sustainable financial sectors, the Scale2Save initiative continues to engage sector players to assess, design and implement initiatives that help build resilience and sustainable solutions for the most vulnerable. Understanding the impact that the financial sector has on serving female entrepreneurs, the actions that lead to more gender equity and agreeing on common metrics that serve these goals forms part of these efforts.

Format: An interactive panel discussion between WSBI members from different regions of the Global South and a representative from a Development Financial Institution, will be followed by contributions from the floor. The session will be preceded by a keynote speech from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which is housed at the World Bank. Translation into English, French and Spanish will be available during the event.

Expected outcomes: This session aims at demonstrating the power of the WSBI network in serving female led and/or owned SMEs. It will highlight what member institutions from two or three regions are doing to empower female entrepreneurs, to help overcome the digital divide, to deploy adaptive solutions to a growing climate risk and to assure that women’s specific financial and non-financial needs are met. The session will also address how DFI financing support can contribute to higher impact with female entrepreneurs. The keynote will be setting the scene on what it takes to get a better understanding of how the financial sector impacts female entrepreneurs and generate a common understanding of the World Bank supported WE-Finance Code. The WSBI General Assembly that will follow in the afternoon is expected to endorse the WE-Finance Code Initiative.

Participants (50-80 pax): WSBI members from all regions, open to external guests (participants to the World Bank / IMF annual meetings).

The event is organized in the framework of the WSBI African Regional Group Meeting and General Assembly that take place 11-13 October alongside the annual World Bank /IMF meetings.

Wendy Teleki
Keynote Speaker
Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, housed at the World Bank

Weselina Angelow
Senior Programme Director Scale2Save

After the keynote speech,we will have an interactive panel discussion with speakers from four different continents.

Cynthia Ikponmwosa
MD/CEO, LAPO Microfinance Bank Nigeria

Verónica Kunze
Vice-Chair, BancoEstado

Marie Agler
Chief Investment Officer (CIO)
Swedfund International, Sweden

Nasser Alkahtani
Executive Director, Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND)
Saudi Arabia

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