Building Market Opportunity and Women’s Networks in MENA

The environment:

Invest in Morocco shared the point that in order to achieve the UN’s  Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030, the amount of investment made globally must triple – to around $2500 billion. The panel then aligned this to job creation figures King Abdullah of Jordan highlighted a couple of years ago; that the 25% youth unemployment in region  needs to be met with 51 million new jobs by 2020 if countries in the MENA region are to develop and progress as per their potential.

A world in which women have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and ensure the sustainable prosperity of their communities, is seen as critical, if global growth targets are to be met. The 2015 Mckinsey report estimates that if women participate identically to men in the economy, by 2025, the world’s economy (annual GDP) would expand by US$ 28 trillion, or 26%.

So this equation applies:

Investment = Jobs = Women’s Economic Empowerment 

= Community Impact and Socio-Economic Growth

But in order to work out how this might work, it is essential that the right kind of evidence and measures are gathered. Therein lies the first key barrier within a traditional approach to development funding – and inversely they key reason for the increasing importance of impact investment and social enterprise in the development landscape.

Practical advice for a receptive audience

Practical advice for a receptive audience

Traditional NGO and development funding is reported in frameworks and LFA’s dating back to the seventies. By making the reporting backward-looking it is very difficult to create forward-looking, sustainable programmes. Basically it’s like saying to a married women with children;

“Yes, you are welcome to, start a high powered job, but make sure you still do all the housework and childcare … and PS, also ensure sure you report on both but with particular focus on the innovation you have introduced in your new role.”

It can be done, but it is very difficult. How she reports and how her success is measured will have a direct impact on her performance. She is much more likely to experience success if she is able to look at the picture as one, getting in the help she needs and working hand in hand with husband, colleagues and family to come up with a solution that allows her to thrive in all aspects of her work.

In other words, a whole new approach is needed, one that is flexible enough to showcase efficiency in terms of time and scale but recognises the underpinning structure as being critical to ensuring long term sustainability.

Moving back to the world of socio-economic growth, fuelled by new approaches to investment and enterprise support - we can see a need for a similar kind of approach emerging. Hybrid structures, such as represented by Challenges ( NGO + social enterprise), or ACRE, (NGO consortium + investment syndicate)  are much more likely to be able to embrace a much wider range of participants and outcomes. The measure of success is to what degree new style of interaction allows long term sustainability.

One Response to Building Market Opportunity and Women’s Networks in MENA

  1. Govindaraj 5th October 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    We like to do some business in Libya.kindly advise me how to do further step.

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