Case Study: Bank of Palestine Strengthens Women-Owned Businesses and the Economy
Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) constitute 96 percent of the Palestinian private sector (Althalathini 2015), but only a quarter of these businesses are owned by women (IFC 2011). Few opportunities for women to participate in the labor force exist, either through corporate employment or entrepreneurship. Although 65 percent of Palestinian women have expressed a desire to launch a business, only 15 percent have done so (IFC 2014). In response to these challenges, IFC’s Banking on Women (BOW) program partnered with Bank of Palestine (BOP) to launch the Felestineya Mini-MBA program.
IFC’s BOW program plays a catalyzing role for partners and financial institutions by helping them to profitably and sustainably build a business case to serve women-owned businesses. As of June 2017, IFC has invested and provided expertise to 59 financial institutions in 35 countries, for a cumulative committed portfolio of nearly $1.6 billion, since it launched BOW in 2010.