A senior official of United Nations has stated that investing in entrepreneurial leadership of women and towards empowering women, is smart economics. This comment was made by Noeleen Heyzer, the head of UN ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific). Dr Noeleen Heyzer is Under-Secretary-General and of United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. She made this statement while addressing the women business leaders and senior policy makers of Cambodia on her official visit to the country. Dr. Noeleen was expressed how challenges faced by global economies had forced Cambodia to find new ways of giving boost to their regional economy. She also stated empowering women entrepreneurs should be one of the top priorities for development in Asian and Pacific countries.
Even the World Bank shares the opinion voiced by Dr. Noeleen and states that investing in women entrepreneurs is ‘smart economics’ as women are considered to have the multiplier effect on economy. Women reinvesting their income, generally, sharing their economic gains with their family and also their community. It has been seen that women use their income on healthcare, education and improving living conditions of their family. Dr. Noeleen also mentioned that initiatives that empower women in business chain also help in addressing issues of education and health faced by women.
While talking about the economic crisis faced by global economies, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer mentioned that other developing economies in the region can learn from the experience and challenges faced by Cambodia. Though Cambodia has witnessed exceptional growth at an average rate of 9%, continuously rising economic inequality is still a major challenge. Due to the turmoil faced by global economies, export of garments to markets of Europe and United States declined considerably, and around 70000 in Cambodia were lost. This also gave rise to need of diversification of economy and training women in other skills as they formed a significant part of that sector.
Dr. Noeleen also appreciated the success of Cambodia in improving rates of enrollment rates for girls in primary and secondary schools. She also mentioned the improvement in rate of school completion and literacy of girls in Cambodia as it was reducing the gender gap at tertiary level.
Along with Prime Minister of Cambodia, Dr. Heyzer also had talks with Deputy Prime Minister and other senior ministers of Cabinet as a part of official visit to Cambodia.