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Co-sponsored by:

Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)

Women, Business and the Law Project (WBL), The World Bank

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Friday, March 10th  | 3:00 – 4:15PM

Conference Room A, UN Conference Room Building


Women’s economic empowerment is critical for resilient recovery and sustainable growth.  In developing countries, over half of working women view entrepreneurship as a path to economic empowerment; yet in 115 countries, women still face legal constraints to entrepreneurship that men do not. In the first year of the pandemic, women-led firms had loan applications rejected at twice the rate of male-led firms. In fact, $5-6 trillion in net value addition could be generated globally if women entrepreneurs reached parity with men.

The event “Pathways to women’s economic empowerment: the interlocking roles of finance, law, and data” takes a holistic, multi-pronged approach to examining the interlocking challenges facing women-led businesses – particularly legal and regulatory biases, unequal access to finance, and a lack of sex-disaggregated data that often exacerbate these systemic constraints. By drawing on latest findings from the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law report and five years of We-Fi’s work supporting women entrepreneurs around the world, the event will bring together policymakers and financial institution leaders in a discussion that calls for greater reforms in the legal and regulatory space, as well as increased emphasis on the transformational role of gender-disaggregated data.

3:00-3:10PM: Opening Remarks

  • H.E. Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

3:10-3:25PM: Women, Business and the Law report launch and presentation of key findings

  • Tea Trumbic, Manager, Women, Business and the Law, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics, The World Bank

3:25-4:15PM: Panel discussion: the role of data in reducing financial and legal barriers

  • H.E. Hanan Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Center, United Arab Emirates
  • Katharine Christopherson, Assistant General Counsel, International Monetary Fund
  • Chantal Korteweg, Director, Inclusive Banking ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Dutch UN Women’s Representative 2023
  • Esselina Macome, CEO, Financial Sector Deepening Program (FSD) in Mozambique, Non-executive chairperson, Standard Bank Mozambique (download PPT presentation)
  • Moderated by: Wendy Teleki, Head, We-Fi Secretariat

H.E. Yoka Brandt

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

Yoka M.G. Brandt is the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York, and presented her credentials to the Chief of Protocol of the United Nations Ms. Beatrix Kania on September 2nd, 2020. Before her latest appointment, Ms. Brandt was Secretary-General of her country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs beginning in 2016, having previously served as Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from 2012 to 2016.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she was Director-General for International Cooperation from 2008 to 2012, having served as Deputy Director‑General for International Cooperation from 2007 to 2008. She was Ambassador to Uganda from 2004 to 2007 and Ambassador to Eritrea from 2000 to 2004.  She also held various positions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague and at missions from 1985 to 2000.

Ms. Brandt earned a master’s degree in geography and development economics at Utrecht University from 1976 to 1983.

H.E. Hanan Ahli

Director of the Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Center, United Arab Emirates

Her Excellency Hanan Ahli is the Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), a government entity affiliated with the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Centre works on developing and enhancing the UAE’s performance in the sectors of global competitiveness, statistics and data through coordination with partners to implement initiatives and define policies of importance to vital sectors across the UAE. The Centre is considered as one of the most important government sources for national data, and for monitoring the competitive performance of the UAE in global reports, and hold the responsibility for the SDGs in the UAE.

In her capacity as the Director of FCSC, Hanan looks after a range of policies outlined in the UAE’s National Agenda, with a particular focus on supporting gender balance, promoting favorable business regulations, and strengthening the performance in the UAE’s public sector.

Prior to this designation, Hanan held the position of the Executive Director of the Competitiveness Sector at the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) (name amended to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre in 2020), a UAE federal entity created by a Presidential decree in 2015. During her tenure as Executive Director, Hanan focused on supporting the competitiveness of the United Arab Emirates, by enhancing the performance of major economic, commercial and social sectors in the country, through launching initiatives and strategies that aimed at improving the performance of the country’s institutions on global competitiveness indexes and reports.

Hanan Ahli has extensive experience in business administration, policy-making and financing programs. Prior to joining the government sector, Hanan worked for Mawarid Finance, PJSC, where she led finance operations with a special focus on Islamic finance.

Hanan holds an MBA from the American University of Sharjah, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Sciences from Zayed University. She is a graduate of the UAE Government Leadership Program, in the Future Leadership category and Policies Diploma, and has credentials from the London Business School, Institute of Management Development (IMD), and Harvard Kennedy School

Wendy Teleki

Head, We-Fi Secretariat

Wendy Teleki is Head of the We-Fi Secretariat, which is housed in the World Bank Group. The Secretariat is responsible for supporting the We-Fi Governing Committee in the allocation and supervision of We-Fi funding as well as communications, advocacy, and learning focused on strengthening opportunities for women entrepreneurs in collaboration with the GC, Implementing Partners and other stakeholders.  Ms. Teleki joined We-Fi in May 2019.  Prior to that, Ms. Teleki worked with the International Finance Corporation leading numerous activities and initiatives focused on small and medium enterprise development in emerging markets around the world.   This included several blended finance, investment and advisory programs, including IFC’s We-Fi program and the Global SME Finance Initiative.  Wendy has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business and an MA in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Tea Trumbic

Manager, Women, Business and the Law, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics

Tea Trumbic is the Manager for the Women, Business and the Law project in the World Bank’s Development Economics vice-presidency. She leads a multidisciplinary team to produce data and analysis on laws and regulations that impact women’s economic inclusion. She has 20 years of experience working in government and international organizations on evidence-based policy for sustainable and inclusive economic development. She joined the World Bank in 2006, working on the Doing Business project on tax and credit information regulations. She has also developed indicators focusing on agribusiness regulations. Her work has focused on regulatory framework analysis of the business environment in several countries globally, including extensive work on Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

Tea also worked at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Croatia and the International Monetary Fund. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.

Katharine Christopherson

Assistant General Counsel, International Monetary Fund

Ms. Christopherson, a national of Peru, is an Assistant General Counsel (AGC) in the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She joined the IMF in 2000 after obtaining her Masters’ degree (LL.M.) from Yale Law School. Before joining the IMF, Ms. Christopherson had a vast private sector experience in the corporate and fiscal law areas and was also a professor of corporate and tax law at the University of Lima. As an AGC, she provides strategic, intellectual and operational leadership in support of the Legal Department’s work. In particular, she oversees the department’s legal advice on IMF’s governance and institutional issues, country operations and core Fund law matters (surveillance, financing to members and capacity development) as well as on exchange systems, capital flow management measures and gender issues.

Chantal Korteweg

Director, Inclusive Banking ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Dutch UN Women’s Representative 2023

Trained as a lawyer, Chantal feels strongly about social justice. She is a strategic executor and contributes to making our world a better, inclusive and more sustainable place. She is a proud mother of a son and daughter and has become an all-round professional. She started her career as an attorney-at-law, and then worked for FMO, the Dutch Development bank for 13 years in different roles as development banker and later as Director for Strategy and Stakeholders and ExCo member responsible for different teams and running change programs. She grew up in England and the Netherlands, which sparked her love for travel, culture and different perspectives. She was privileged to work on many investments and transformational initiatives in emerging markets. During the past 10 years she passionately worked on female leadership and gender finance. She initiated the Fempower Your Growth partnership, a Dutch Financial Sector initiative, connecting the worlds of bankers and female entrepreneurs. She is an advisory board member at NABC (Netherlands Africa Business Council). Currently, she works as Director Inclusive Banking at ABN AMRO to make banking products and services more inclusive and accessible for women and others. In addition, she is a member of ABN AMRO’s ethical committee. In 2022 Chantal was nominated as 1 of the 50 Dutch female leaders in sustainable finance and as 1 of the 30 Dutch inclusive leaders (Sprout). In 2023 Chantal is appointed as the women’s representative of the Netherlands and will deliver a speech in the UN General Assembly.

Esselina Macome

CEO, Financial Sector Deepening Program (FSD) in Mozambique

Esselina Macome is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Financial Sector Deepening Program in Mozambique (FSDMoç) a Program funded by UK Aid from the UK Government and Swedish Government, and she is also a Professor at Eduardo Mondlane University. She was as Executive Director and Member of the Board at the Central Bank from 2005 to 2015. She was responsible for Currency Issuing, Payment systems and Information Technology portfolio, financial inclusion. Her research interests include ICT for development, e-government, gender, and the development and management of information systems in organizations, and Financial Inclusion. She has led a number of studies following the progress of telecentres in Mozambique and has acted as advisor to the Mozambique GRACE researchers. In December 2022, Esselina was also appointed non-executive chairperson of the Standard Bank  Mozambique.