Excellency, Ms. Battsetseg Batmunkh, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Excellency, Mr. Uchral Nyam-Osor, Minister of Digital Development and Communications,
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to speak at the launch of the Mongolia Women Entrepreneur Growth Fund.
Advancing women’s equality in the Asia-Pacific region could add as much as 4.5 trillion dollars or a 12 per cent increase to the region’s GDP annually by 2025. With the economic slump that countries now face, none can afford to continue to miss out on this largely untapped opportunity.
However, the effects of the pandemic on women and women entrepreneurs across the region were disproportionate to their male counterparts.
Women continued to take on even more of the burden of unpaid care work and home-schooling. In addition, women entrepreneurs also face a range of financial and digital constraints affecting business continuity.
It is clear that women entrepreneurs are a driving force for post-pandemic recovery.
That is why ESCAP – over the past few years – has been implementing our Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship programme, which – to date – has directly supported over 100,000 women entrepreneurs and has unlocked over 60 million dollars of capital for women entrepreneurs.
With the expertise and experience we have gained in supporting women entrepreneurs, we are honoured to be working in partnership with the International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry on the Mongolia Women Entrepreneur Growth Fund, which we are launching here today.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises play an essential role in Mongolia’s economy, contributing to about 72 per cent of employment.
With this in mind, the Fund will target solutions that improve access to finance and business development services for women-led micro and small enterprises in Mongolia.
And we very much welcome innovative applications that can address this challenge.
In closing, I would like to thank the Government of Mongolia for your leadership in supporting women entrepreneurs. I would also like to thank the International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry for your excellent partnership on this initiative.
Building back better means ensuring that women entrepreneurs not only survive but thrive.
I sincerely hope that this Fund can support women entrepreneurs to build a more prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for Mongolia, and ESCAP stands ready to continue to support you all on this journey.
Thank you very much.