(MENAFN - Arab News) With the formal launch of the Innovation Bank, the new entity aimed at empowering women through a phased program of offering micro-finance credit facility, Bahrain has entered into a new era of progress and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a top UN official said.
Kanedeh Yumkella, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said on Tuesday UNIDO would help Bahrain in creating more job opportunities through women empowerment project.
Yumkella, who was joined by Hashim Hussain, UNIDO head in Bahrain, said Bahrain's Entrepreneur Development Program (EDP) has been replicated in 21 countries across the Middle East and Africa.
The EDP or Bahrain Model, Hashim said, will be also replicated in China and eight other countries as part of UNIDO efforts to enhance the role of South-South cooperation initiative.
"We provide expertise on the request of the various countries as part of UNIDO's commitment on alleviating poverty, economic empowerment and creating job opportunities at mass level," added Yumkella.
Earlier, Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, wife of Bahrain's King Hamad and chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women, patronized the inauguration of a fund to empower women in the presence of Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, president of the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND).
Housing Minister and Board Chairman of the Housing Bank Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Khalifa gave a speech in which he welcomed the inauguration of the BD1 million gund and the graduation of the first batch of Creativity Bank's micro-loan beneficiaries. He thanked Princess Sabeeka for according high interest to women and empowering them socially, politically and economically. Princess Sabeeka was also thanked by Prince Talal for her distinguished efforts.
Head of Operations and Credit at the Creativity Bank Shaima Nader gave a presentation on the bank's programs and future goals. Princess Sabeeka witnessed the graduation of the first batch of Innovation Bank's micro-loan beneficiaries. Zahra Hassan gave a speech on behalf of the graduates, thanking Princess Sabeeka for her interest in women empowerment and the bank for its loan facilities.
Yumkella also witnessed the launch of the first International Smart Housing Center in Bahrain and the World Entrepreneur Day celebrations which was also attended by Princess Sabeeka.
By Mahmood Rafique