As part of the UK’s Presidency of the G8 Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, a two-day conference is being held at Lancaster House in central London.
The conference will promote the role of Arab women in the global and Middle Eastern and North African economies, will debate how economic opportunities can be improved for women and will aim at creating new economic partnerships.
The event will bring together private sector and government representatives from across the Deauville Partnership countries which comprise the G8, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen and regional partners, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
Arab women already play a vital role in the economies of the region. This conference will build on these achievements and explore ways to strengthen their role. During the conference a variety of issues will be discussed, including how to improve women’s access to finance and how to create workplaces in which women can thrive. A series of workshops will look to encourage partnerships in financial services, the creative industries, health and education, technology, retail and tourism, energy and infrastructure.
Speaking before the conference, FCO Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said:
"This conference is the first time we have brought together women from the G8, regional partner governments and businesses to promote and champion the role of women in the global economy, as well as in the individual economies of Arab countries in transition.
"In laying the ground for conference-participants to create networks and new business partnerships, we hope to deliver real and tangible benefits to women in the region, without whose full participation the region will be unable to fulfil its greatest potential."
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Chairman of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, which is working in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in organising the conference, said:
"Women in the Arab world have risen rapidly in their chosen professions, but much more needs to be done to promote the role of women in business. As many Arab countries are undergoing transition, now is the time to focus on how the governments and business communities of the G8 and regional partners can best help support this process.
"This conference aims to celebrate the role that women have achieved in business and public life, but more importantly to address the challenges that remain and build links to further develop opportunities for women entrepreneurs, business leaders and those in public services such as healthcare and education."
(Source: UK FCO)