UN Urges Support for Women Entrepreneurs in Conflict Areas

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The bi-annual UN forum on entrepreneurship and innovation concluded its session in Bahrain, shining a spotlight on women entrepreneurs from conflict zones. Hosted in Manama, the 2024 World Entrepreneurship Investment Forum (WEIF) brought together inspiring businesswomen from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, and Gaza, highlighting their resilience and innovation amidst adversity.

During a panel discussion on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ and in exclusive interviews with UN News, these entrepreneurs shared poignant stories of their endeavours to drive positive change in their communities. Tahani Abu Daqqa, a Palestinian businesswoman from Gaza, recounted her efforts to create job opportunities for women despite recurring conflicts impeding her projects.

Similarly, Alaa Hamadto, CEO and founder of Solar Food in Sudan, shared her vision of leveraging solar technology to empower local communities through sustainable agriculture. Despite facing setbacks, including the destruction of her factory amid conflict, Hamadto remains committed to her mission of making a positive impact.

Malalai Helmandi, Chief Operations Officer of Helmandi Solar in Afghanistan, highlighted the importance of empowering women in conflict-ridden societies, emphasising their role as stabilising forces within households and communities.

Basima Abdulrahman, Founder and CEO of KESK Company in Iraq, underscored the urgency of transitioning to renewable energy amidst ongoing conflicts, viewing climate action as a priority alongside peace-building efforts.

As the forum concluded, Dr. Hashim Hussein, Head of the UNIDO Office for Technology and Investment Promotion in Bahrain, expressed pride in amplifying the voices of entrepreneurs, particularly women from conflict areas. He emphasised the need for sustained support for economic development to ensure the resilience and prosperity of these communities.

The forum served as a platform to recognise and address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in conflict zones, highlighting their potential to drive sustainable development and peace-building initiatives. Through resilience, innovation, and international collaboration, these entrepreneurs continue to inspire positive change in their communities and beyond.