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Mon 17 Feb 2020 11:02 AM

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Gender equality could add trillions to Middle East, world economies, says IMF head

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said that gender equality could add $172bn to the world economy

Gender equality could add trillions to Middle East, world economies, says IMF head

Kristalina Georgieva (L), the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Image: DXBMediaOffice

Improving gender equality is “great economics” that could add trillions of dollars in economic output to the Middle East and the world, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Speaking at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, Georgieva – a Bulgarian economist who previously served as acting president of the World Bank and vice-president of the European Commission – said that the economic impact of gender equality is often overlooked.

“Yes, gender equality is morally right,” she said, “but beyond that, it is great economics.”

At a global level, Georgieva said that “if tomorrow we wake up with 100 percent gender equality, the wealth of this world would be, according to the most recent data, $172 trillion bigger. We would be a much richer world.”

Additionally, Georgieva noted that the Middle East would see significant economic benefits from improving gender equality in the region.

“If we were to just bring the Middle East to par with the more advanced economies…over the next years, there would be $1 trillion more in output for everyone to share,” she said. “We are talking about very significant improvements.”

In her remarks, Georgieva said that while the US economy is growing – along with that of approximately 40 countries whose economies are growing at 5 percent or more – the “rest of the world is sluggish”, making it crucial to narrow gender gaps.

“Take the case of women entrepreneurs, especially in SMEs. It is now categorically prover that women are better entrepreneurs than men,” she said. “If you want the economy to prosper, we have to create space….we need the boost that women can provide.” 

Other speakers at the Global Women’s Forum include US presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, World Bank president David Malpass, and former British Prime Minister Theresa May.

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