Canada supports women's economic empowerment in Ethiopia

May, 28, 2013

Toronto, Ontario — Senator Salma Ataullahjan, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced support today for the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in Ethiopia. Empowering women to contribute to, and benefit from, economic growth, is aligned with Canada's Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy. Senator Ataullahjan made the announcement at the African Women Trade and Investment Opportunities Conference.

"This program helps women entrepreneurs in urban areas of Ethiopia by improving their access to financing and technical training," said Senator Ataullahjan. "It aims to provide as many as 17,500 Ethiopian women with the tools they need to take their ideas and turn them into economic growth and job creation in their communities."

Today's announcement further demonstrates Canada's continued support for women entrepreneurs. The project in Ethiopia, to be implemented by the World Bank, helps women gain access to microfinance, and provides training in skills development, technology, and product development. Women's economic empowerment is fundamental to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, food security, and the achievement of gender equality.

"Canada recognizes that women play a central role as income earners in lifting themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty," said Minister Fantino. "Canada is proud to provide women with the business tools and skills they need to succeed."

"We are grateful for Canada's contribution to the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in Ethiopia," said Yasmin Tayyab of the World Bank in Ethiopia. "No country can achieve its full economic potential without the participation of women as key economic actors in society. This project provides access to finance and helps build the entrepreneurial skills of women business owners."

Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to international development such as improving sustainable economic growth, which includes the economic empowerment of women. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and help to achieve greater efficiency, accountability and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA

Backgrounder

Women Entrepreneurship Development in Ethiopia

Canada will support the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in Ethiopia, one of CIDA's countries of focus. The project, to be implemented by the World Bank, aims to increase employment and the incomes of women-owned micro businesses and small businesses in six of the largest cities in Ethiopia.

Canada will invest $10.4 million over five years in this project, which will provide as many as 17,500 women entrepreneurs with microfinance loans that meet their specific business needs. It will also support key government agencies in delivering more effective business development services, and technical training to as many as 20,000 women who run enterprises with demonstrated growth potential. The project aims to reduce social and cultural barriers to the growth of women-owned businesses, through awareness campaigns that build family and community support for women entrepreneurs.

Women's economic empowerment is an important part of CIDA's efforts to help build sustainable economies in the developing world. Canada recognizes that women—as entrepreneurs, wage earners and farmers—are central to advancing poverty reduction and economic and social development. At the International Conference on Women's Economic Empowerment, co-hosted by CIDA and UN Women in October 2011, the two organizations committed to action in a number of areas in support of women's economic empowerment. They identified concrete ways to support economic opportunity and security for women, and identified the tools needed by women to genuinely participate in and benefit from gender-responsive inclusive growth and development.