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8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi to focus on women empowerment

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ABU DHABI: The UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum, one of the world’s largest investment gatherings hosted by Abu Dhabi from 16 to 20 October 2023, is shining a spotlight on the imperative need for innovative investment strategies and policies to facilitate the flow of capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable development projects, with a special focus on women empowerment.

To be held under the theme “Investing in Sustainable Development,” the eighth edition of WIF will dedicate its second and third days to an in-depth exploration of the pivotal role that investment plays in achieving Gender Equality, the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set the by the United Nations. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a catalyst for economic growth and sustainable development. Empowering women and affording them equal opportunities in education, employment, and political participation are essential steps toward achieving SDGs and making significant strides in various fields.

The 8th edition of WIF, to be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), will feature a dynamic agenda that includes dialogues, keynote addresses, interactive workshops, and side events to discuss the challenges of global investment and development. It aims to facilitate communication among leaders from around the world, stimulate cooperation and collaboration between the public and private sectors, and direct international trade and investments towards sustainable sectors.

Mrs. Mouza Obaid Al Nasri, Executive Director of SME sector at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said “Our firm belief and unwavering commitment to women empowerment could be illustrated by various initiatives launched to increase participation of women in different economic sectors and benefit from ample opportunities provided by Abu Dhabi’s advanced business ecosystem and ambitious development plans. We are working closely with federal and local entities to continuously enhance the business environment to achieve women empowerment and other sustainable development goals”.

Mrs. Mouza Al Nasri highlighted importance of initiatives launched by the UAE in this regard including the “Gender Balance Council Strategy 2026”, which includes a range of measures and programmes that support investments in projects promoting gender equality, with a focus on women’s education and training as well as support for women in business.

“We have witnessed a rising number of economic licences owned by women entrepreneurs in recent years and will continue our efforts to raise awareness and develop policies and frameworks to encourage their active participation in various sectors. As we look forward to welcoming leaders, investors, and key decision makers at the UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum, we believe the outcomes of its discussions will guide future steps to further enhance women empowerment,” Mrs. Mouza Al Nasri added.

A panel discussion titled “Investment Promotion and its Impact on Gender Equality” is organised in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the most comprehensive international governmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region. This side event highlights the most significant initiatives of investment promotion agencies and their contribution to achieving gender equality in the context of investment promotion and facilitation.

Investment promotion agencies are increasingly working to integrate gender equality and empower women across their operations. They facilitate the significant impact of foreign corporate activities on gender equality in the host country’s economy. This includes enhancing comprehensive gender links between multinational and local companies. Additionally, these agencies focus on empowering women and promoting gender equality within their workforce.

Integrating gender equality considerations into investment promotion and facilitation efforts can attract multinational companies that have a positive impact on women, particularly in providing sustainable employment opportunities for them. Investment promotion agencies can collaborate with government agencies to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and support them in building their business networks.

Meanwhile, the session on “Gender Equality in Corporate Leadership,” organised in partnership with the International Finance Corporation and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, provides market leaders with an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities for achieving gender equality. It examines the role of financial markets and other key stakeholders in promoting gender equality within their business scope. The session also explores the progress made in achieving gender balance in corporate boards and other leadership positions.

Gender equality is a top priority on the international sustainability agenda and one of the SDGs of the United Nations. Companies are working to enhance their practices and methodologies, develop public-private partnerships, and invest resources optimally to achieve gender equality.

More than 7,000 investment stakeholders from 160 countries will participate in the World Investment Forum. It brings together leaders, government officials, decision-makers, business professionals, top executives of global companies, stock exchanges, sovereign wealth fund managers, investment treaty negotiators, heads of investment promotion agencies, international investment site experts, heads of international organisations, parliamentarians, along with representatives from civil society, leading academics, and international media.

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