Representational image (iStock)

GLOBALLY, women-led businesses face a credit gap of $1.5 trillion, estimates the  International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private-sector lending arm.

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), based at the World Bank, is designed to help address this funding shortage and help remove other barriers women entrepreneurs face, says David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, in a recent statement.

Backed by the US, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, among others, the scheme aims to support 115,000 women-owned small and medium-size enterprises in over 50 countries, and to crowd-in more than $2.6 billion in private- and public-sector funding.

“Leveraging technology, including by shifting more cash transactions to digital channels, can give women greater control over their own resources,” says David Malpass.

In Egypt, financial services provider Fawry, an IFC client, enables more than 2.5 million transactions per day.

Recently, it has launched the country’s first female e-payment agent network, with the aim of increasing women’s access to e-payments.

Today, shockingly, one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence.

Research from the World Bank and others shows that unleashing the economic power of women can contribute to global growth.

“Fortunately, more countries recognise that economies can reach their full potential only with the full participation of both women and men,” Malpass said.

“The World Bank Group is supporting countries in achieving this goal in important areas, including the removal of discriminatory laws, investment to close gender gaps, broadening access to finance, and stepping up efforts to prevent gender-based violence,” he further said.