The General Secretariat of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (ICCIA) has been organizing Businesswomen Forums since 2005, which provide excellent opportunities and platform to Businesswomen / Entrepreneurs of OIC Countries, to identify challenges; determine the areas which need support; build network; exchange experiences and know how; and identify new markets and expand the existing level of economic ties amongst the business community, through trade and investment.
This has been done by organizing seven (7) Forums First in Sharjah, U.A.E. in March 2005; Second in Kuala Lumpur, -Malaysia, from 8-10 December, 2006; the Third was held in Doha – State of Qatar 13-15 January 2008, the Fourth in Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic on 2-4 November 2008, the Fifth Forum in Cairo, Egypt on 22-24 April 2010, the Sixth Forum in Bahrain on 12-14 December 2012 and Seventh Forum in Tehran – Islamic Republic of Iran from 28th to 30th October 2013.
This platform has enabled the Businesswomen of OIC Countries to network among themselves and learn best practices and exchange know how and experiences. In addition, there is also the need to empower the women, so as to facilitate their role in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
The inclusion of women in the economic process in OIC Member Countries is a fundamental catalyst for dynamic social and economic development at the macro level, and would simultaneously help make companies more competitive at the micro level. It would also benefit a large part of the people and contribute to reduce poverty in those regions where businesses are developed. OIC Member Countries have great market opportunities to offer at every level; however, the help and support from governments, international institutions is crucial to address and stimulate these areas of concern in working towards equity, justice and women’s full and productive contribution in the public sphere.
The launching of ICCIA hub of the One Million Businesswomen of the Global South Online (OMBOL) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation of UNDP, would assist businesswomen to form business partnerships; particularly across borders, and to open opportunities for experienced businesswomen to assist other women in setting up small businesses or employment opportunities or business training to other women.