Sheikha Hussa stresses women's role in int'l economy
By Abdulwahed Al-Talebi
(with photos) TANGIERS, Morocco, Nov 14 (KUNA) -- Chairwoman of Arab Businesswoman Council Sheikha Hussa Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah stressed the need for innovative, swift, and sustainable solutions to the sharp international financial crisis and underlined the role and contributions of women and the need to broaden their involvement.
The eminent Kuwaiti figure was addressing the opening session, Wednesday, of the annual international forum MEDays, held under the patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and she highlighted the role of Middle Eastern and African women and that of the council in Arab women empowerment.
She noted that the world changed dramatically with the fall of the Berlin wall and women, and Arab women in particular, found their way into investment and small, medium, and big business in many sectors within the new spirit of free and open market. With that comes the need to enhance Arab women's education and capacities to enable them to master the challenges of development and equality, she added.
Sheikha Hussa said more work is needed on ensuring equality for women in employment, working conditions, pay, income, and access to loans to finance small or medium enterprises.
She recalled the council's efforts in this regard and the recommendations of conferences in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and Bahrain. She stressed council achievements including its investment company project, productive family project, and the agricultural project in Egypt and Sudan.
"Arab businesswomen had established themselves as a trade and investment players, and benefited from the revolutions in information and communications technology in this age of globalization, as well as from the freedoms gained in recent years, and from the improved attitude towards women in business and investment within our Arab communities." By way of example, Sheikha Hussa said that Arab businesswomen own some 27 percent of commercial establishments in Arab countries, particularly in the Arabian Gulf region.
In the Gulf, Saudi women own 75 percent of bank deposits and women in the UAE account for 16.5 percent of the workforce. In Qatar, over 500 businesswomen manage or own 800 businesses, and moving on to Bahrain, businesswomen hold 29.8 percent of licensed business records, at 19,000 records.
When it comes to Kuwait, there is a general accelerating increase in women's engagement in trade and business and most particularly in the banks and investment sectors, the speaker said.
The opening session of the four-day MEDays 2013 saw the honoring of Mali, in recognition of the country's successful democratic transition and ending the conflict it had suffered over the past two years.
The agenda of the annual event includes sessions, seminars, roundtables, and debates and the theme is means for development amid international instability. Over 2,500 strong figures in the fields of politics, economy, media, and civil community as well as representatives of regional and international organizations are taking part.
The organizers at the Amadeus Institute said this year's gathering will stress the need for a better balance in international decision-making that is less biased against developing nations, particularly as they enjoy a dynamism and vibrancy and political maturity that counters the stagnation and series of corporate crises suffered by neighboring countries to the north.
Among the hot topics for debate is the unstable political horizon of the Arab Spring and the new geo-strategic variant in the region, the Syrian crisis, "Green" growth and development, food security, infrastructure, and generic drugs in Africa.
The Amadeus Institute organizes this event to bring together politicians, intellectuals, and economists from around the world to discuss current issues that impact world peace, security, and stability and aims to foster good relations between countries north and south of the Equator to serve the causes of development and environment. (end) adt.wsa KUNA 141026 Nov 13NNNN