ISFD Join Forces with UN Women to Empower Women in MENA Region

UN Women

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – April 30, 2024 – The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) announced a new partnership with UN Women to boost women employment by 5% by the year 2030 in green, care and science and technology sectors, to bolster national targets and drive regional economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

This strategic collaboration, formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Dr. Hiba Ahmed, Director General of ISFD, and Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States on behalf of Sima Bahous, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, during the Islamic Development Bank Annual Meetings, outlines a comprehensive plan to bolster women’s economic opportunities, by creating jobs, supporting enterprises and reducing barriers to women entering and leading in the world of work. 

The MoU will establish a collaborative framework at the country level, supporting existing programs focused on women's economic empowerment and job creation in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. 

Dr. Hiba Ahmed emphasized this collaboration as a crucial turning point and stated: "This partnership represents a critical step forward in unlocking the full economic potential of women in the MENA region. By empowering women, we empower families, communities, and ultimately, the entire region." 

Ms. Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen stated: “This collaboration will specifically support national employment priorities for women, including by scaling analytics, will strengthen the two organizations’ country level collaboration and will attract private and sovereign capital and investments in the private sector.” 

Women's economic participation in the Arab region is amongst the lowest in the world and the gaps between men and women remain large. Regionally a 575-billion annual loss is recorded due to the low levels of women employment. Representation and retention of women are essential for the science and digital technology sectors to be more creative, innovative, and profitable, reflecting issues that matter to women. 

Science, technology, and innovation continue to radically and rapidly transform how people live, socialize, pay their bills, order food, study, and work. For women and girls across the world, these changes have brought new freedoms, new forms of access to information, and new opportunities for creativity, along with new risks to their safety, representation, and share of decent employment.