SANAD and GAWBL launch virtual meeting series to empower women entrepreneurs during COVID-19 (باللغة الإنجليزية فقط)


Participants address the challenges and opportunities faced by women business leaders in confronting ramifications of the pandemic

Frankfurt, February 18, 2021 – The Technical Assistance Facility of the SANAD Fund for MSME (SANAD TAF) has launched a new virtual meeting series together with its longstanding collaborator, the German-Arab Women Business Leaders (GAWBL) organization. In the “GAWBL Connect” online forum, the partners aim to bring together women in business across Germany, the Arab world, and the international community to explore the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on women entrepreneurs and derive potential measures to support their success.

The SANAD TAF and GAWBL have been working together to bolster female entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa, and to foster exchange between businesswomen in Germany and the Arab world, since the first GAWBL summit in 2018. There, 200 participants came together to discuss roadblocks to, and solutions for, women’s professional and economic empowerment as well as to network and share knowledge. Promoting entrepreneurship as a means to boost socioeconomic development – including by reducing unequal access to opportunities for groups such as women and youth – is at the core of the SANAD TAF’s impact mission. Through the new GAWBL Connect virtual series, the partners aim to build on the initial success of the summit by enabling the continuation of the discussion across borders despite the travel restrictions of COVID-19.

The first GAWBL Connect meeting kicked off on January27, 2021, with experience exchange on how women business leaders have adapted in response to the crisis. The discussion also involved ways to promote their continued operations during and after the pandemic, including expanding access to business finance, enhancing the use of digital tools for financial inclusion and to facilitate efficient operations, and increasing networking opportunities. Panelists included SANAD partners such as Sana Afouaiz, Founder and Director of the Womenpreneur Initiative, and Yasmina El Hosseiny – Head of Strategic Planning at the Export Development Bank of Egypt. Iveta Tancheva-Nikolova, Director at Finance in Motion which manages the SANAD TAF, moderated the discussion.

Women in the workplace have faced particular challenges as a result of the pandemic, especially in the Arab world. According to UN Women, women account for nearly half of COVID-related job losses in the Middle East and North Africa, although they only comprise one-fifth of the total workforce. The GAWBL-Connect virtual meeting series seeks to bolster efforts to combat gender disparity in business leadership, promote equal participation in decision‐making processes, and help women reinforce their business strategies to maintain resilience and relevance in a changing environment. 

Watch the full first session on SANAD’s YouTube channel: 
For more information on the virtual series, click here.

About SANAD 

The SANAD Fund for MSME finances micro, small, and medium enterprises and low-income households in the Middle East and North Africa and selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa via qualified local lenders. SANAD thereby fosters economic development and job creation – including youth employment – agriculture, affordable housing, and innovations in finance and financial technologies. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to its local partners. The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility multiplies the fund’s development impact and outreach through capacity-building with partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required R&D. 

An impact investment fund advised by Finance in Motion, SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the European Union; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; Germany’s GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand; the Dutch development bank FMO; and Calvert Impact Capital. 

For more information on the SANAD Fund for MSME, please visit:  
For more information on Finance in Motion, please visit:  

Media contact – SANAD

Nikki Eggers
Senior Officer, Marketing & Communications
Phone: +49 (0)69 / 271 035-470