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IFC and Baku Stock Exchange “Ring the Bell” for Gender Equality

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 9, 2017— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Baku Stock Exchange today joined over 40 stock exchanges around the world to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality,” highlighting the importance of gender equality for private sector growth and sustainable development.
The Baku Stock Exchange event attracted more than 60 private sector, government and international development institution representatives. The discussion focused on how empowering women can result in higher productivity, more customers, and a stronger bottom line for private companies, ultimately leading to increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Research shows that each person has his or her specific strengths in the workplace, regardless of whether they are male or female,” said Vugar Namazov, Acting CEO, the Baku Stock Exchange. “Our aim is to properly use and balance our most precious resource—human capital—to boost equality, and also highlight the importance of women’s role in the private sector and the decision-making process.”
According to a new report from the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative with GIZ, women-owned small businesses could add around $285 billion to the global economy if better served, while the global economy could be up to $28 trillion larger in 2025 if gender gaps were eliminated.
“Reducing the gender gap can help companies improve financial performance and investor confidence, so gender equality is also an economic need,” said Aliya Azimova, IFC Country Representative in Azerbaijan. “ Research shows a positive link between female participation on corporate boards and good governance, so IFC is working to build capacity, raise awareness, and expand the discussion about gender diversity on boards in emerging markets, including in Azerbaijan.”
This is the third global Ring the Bell event in line with International Women’s Day. Organized by IFC and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative , together with the UN Global Compact , UN Women , Women in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges , it aims to highlight the role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality and sustainable development.
The Baku event is supported by IFC’s Corporate Governance Program in Europe and Central Asia, funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Azerbaijan became a member of IFC in 1995. Since then, IFC has invested $473 million, of which nearly $73 million was mobilized from other lenders, financing 56 long-term projects across a range of sectors, including financial services, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors. In addition, IFC has supported around $80 million in trade through its trade finance program and provided $250 million for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. IFC has also implemented a range of advisory projects aimed at encouraging private sector growth. In fiscal year 2016, IFC invested almost $19 billion in developing countries worldwide.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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