Tunis, Tunisia, June 20, 2018—By
ramping up their lending to female entrepreneurs, banks in Tunisia could
dramatically increase their profits while also driving economic growth
across the country, says a new report from IFC, a member of the World Bank
The report, released today, found that
women, who own about one-fifth of Tunisia's businesses, represent a vast
untapped market for lenders. Despite that fact, many women now struggle
to get financing for their firms. In fact, smaller businesses owned by
women face a combined credit gap of $595 million, the study found. It revealed
that if more women had access to credit, their firms would be better able
to grow and create jobs.
"Women entrepreneurs are changing
the landscape of the global economy, creating sustainable jobs and driving
economic growth," said Georges Joseph Ghorra, IFC Resident Representative
in Tunisia. "Extending financial services to them will create much-needed
growth and jobs. For lenders, banking on women also makes commercial sense;
female-owned businesses are a massive, untapped market that can help drive
While Tunisia has some of the most progressive
women's right laws in the Middle East and North Africa, that has not translated
into increased economic opportunities, the report found. Women account
for only about one-third of all employees and, on average, are paid about
15 percent less than their male colleagues.
The study found that if more women had
access to credit, it could help level the gender playing field. Banks would
also stand to benefit, tapping into a potentially lucrative market. Across
MENA, the demand for financing from women-owned businesses, both large
and small, is a massive $73 billion a year.
Among other things, the report also
- Women stay with their bank if it is
serving them well and are more open to other products than men;
- Women save more than men as both retail
and business customers, and their deposits grow at a higher rate; and
- Women-led SMEs outperform those led
by men, and women are either the same or better than their male counterparts
at paying back loans.
The report is part of a larger effort
by IFC to support female entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa.
A central part of that initiative is the Banking on Women program, which
is working with 29 banks around the world to support lending to women.
for the full report.
IFC—a sister organization
of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global
development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise,
and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas
of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term
financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private
sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,