Minister Carr announces funding for economic empowerment of Palestinian women

News release

September 6, 2018 - Ramallah, West Bank - Global Affairs Canada

Empowering women and girls is not just the right thing to do, it leads to more stability, more security and, crucially, more job creation.

The Honourable Jim Carr, the Minister of International Trade Diversification, today announced Government of Canada funding to help the Palestinian Business Women Forum implement the Women as the Catalyst for Change project. This initiative is designed to enhance the economic empowerment of 81 female graduates as well as 27 women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by connecting the two groups. 

Currently, youth unemployment among Palestinians is over 40%, and young women are disproportionately affected. There remain significant social and financial barriers to entrepreneurship and employment among Palestinians, particularly in terms of training, skills development and economic opportunities.

Canada is committed to addressing these needs because economic empowerment of women is a proven tool in building the social and economic conditions for greater peace and security. This includes efforts to strengthen the Palestinian economy.

The Women as the Catalyst for Change project will result in enhanced business opportunities for female graduates and women-owned SMEs as well as improved business development services including facilitating access to local and regional markets. 


“Projects like Women as the Catalyst for Change, which will help female graduates and women-owned SMEs in the region, build on the entrepreneurial spirit of Palestinians and expand economic opportunities for all. Enhancing these young women’s capacities and employability skills will allow them to grow their businesses and create more jobs.”

- Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

Quick facts

  • Canadian foreign policy objectives in the Middle East are the foundation for international assistance programming in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

  • The Government of Canada and Palestinian Business Women Forum signed an agreement for a two-year, $200,000 project to connect unemployed young female graduates with women-owned SMEs for mutual benefits to both groups.

  • Canada provides significant assistance to Palestinians, focusing on growth that works for everyone, inclusive governance and humanitarian assistance while also advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

  • This is in addition to Canada’s recent announcement of $37 million in new programming to increase economic prosperity for Palestinians, including by reducing barriers to entrepreneurship, employment and employability faced by women and youth.

Associated links


Ann-Clara Vaillancourt
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade Diversification

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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