This week witnessed the signing of a significant memorandum of understanding between Daltex company and IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, to increase economic opportunities for women employees and smallholder farmers. The event was attended by H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt.
Dr. Sahar Nasser praised the contribution of the private sector in the various economic developmental sectors in Egypt; noting that the contribution of women within the working force is the core engine for the economic development in Egypt.
According to IFC press release, IFC’s advisory team will work with Daltex, which produces fresh fruit and vegetables, to help identify commercially viable, sustainable solutions to increase the share and retention of women workers in select Daltex-owned farms and packaging facilities, and women farmers and smallholders in its value chain. The aim is to generate employment and income streams for these women by integrating them in Daltex operations.
“Including women and men throughout our operations allows us to tap into a much wider and more diverse pool of resources, whether in terms of our employees, farmers or even business partners that we do business with. This is part of our broader business strategy to grow production, reach new markets and create opportunities for our communities,” said Hesham El Naggar, Daltex CEO.
In Egypt, women represent just over 13 percent of permanent full-time workers and about 18 percent of business owners. Only five percent of Egypt’s firms are led by a female executive and they earn on average about 22 percent less than their male counterparts. Closing these gaps could help Egypt increase its gross domestic product by over 30 percent.
IFC vice president for Middle East and Africa Sérgio Pimenta said that enhancing the contribution of women within the working force will definitely better the GDP in Egypt.
“Creating economic opportunities for women in key sectors such as agribusiness is one of IFC’s strategic focus areas; investing in women is not only essential for economic growth, but it’s also good for the economy. Companies that attract and retain female employees have a wider and better talent pool.”
IFC’s commitment to advancing gender equality is anchored in a strong business case and in client demand for gender-smart solutions, which has significantly grown over the past several years. IFC investee companies in the Middle East and North Africa have generated more than 120,000 jobs for women over the past decade. IFC is also investing in banks for on-lending to women-owned SMEs through its Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility.