|16 February, 2020

UAE, rest of MENA can add $600bln to GDP by promoting gender equality: Ivanka Trump

US president's daughter also lauds UAE leadership for closing gender gap

U.S. White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump delivers the keynote address during the Global Women's Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 16, 2020.

U.S. White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump delivers the keynote address during the Global Women's Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 16, 2020.

REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Ivanka Trump, an advisor to her father, US President Donald Trump,  encouraged stakeholders in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on Sunday to continue empowering women, adding, that the region has the potential to add billions of dollars to global growth by promoting gender equality.

Speaking at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, the president’s daughter said that advancing women’s equality in the MENA region has a potential to add $600 billion to the global annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

“The number represents far more than economic boom… This is the future that we must achieve together,” said Trump.

Trump is in Dubai to speak at the annual forum, led by Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, as well as female entrepreneurs and advocates for women empowerment.

The UAE and the US are founding members of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) which weeks to help women who are facing financial and non-financial constraints when setting up a business in the developing world.

Since the launch of the initiative two years ago, the two countries were able to mobilise $2.6 billion of both public and private sector funding that invest in more than 100,000 women on businesses in developing countries, according to Trump.

“[This is] truly extraordinary,” she said.

Trump also commended the leaders in the UAE for making great progress in empowering women to participate in the economy.

“We are here to celebrate all the women achieving in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We’re incredibly grateful for your strong and steadfast commitment to advancing women’s economic participation across Dubai and broader UAE,” Trump said during her speech.

Trump pointed out that, with continued efforts to close the gender gap, more and more women can develop their full potential.

“Last year, 70 percent of Emirati university graduates were women. It’s incredible, yet only 10 percent of the UAE’s national income is derived from women and we know this will grow and flourish in the years ahead,” Trump said.

“I also would like to congratulate other countries. Saudi Arabia has changed laws to respect women’s freedom of movement and access to credit and financial services. Bahrain has introduced legislation [that can protect women against] discrimination in the workforce. Jordan eliminated restrictions on women’s ability to work at night,” added Trump.

However, she pointed, the fight for women empowerment must continue, as gender inequality is still prevalent in other parts of the globe.

“We won’t be complacent because there is still so much work to be done. There are still many women who continue to face obstacles to entering the workforce, starting their own business, reaching their full potential and charting their own future,” Trump said.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda, editing by Seban Scaria)

(cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2020

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