Given the complex economic and regulatory environment and the instability in Libya, business registration is quite difficult and expensive. That’s why many female entrepreneurs and business owners prefer to work in the shadow economy. This situation has a double negative impact: on one hand, it prevents female entrepreneurs from having access to a wide range of economic services and incentives such as loans, credits, training, etc. On the other hand, it limits Libyan women’s contribution to building inclusive and sustainable economy in the country.
On April 8th 2017, Jusoor Center for studies and Development launched an advocacy campaign that lasted several months with the aim of encouraging Libyan female entrepreneurs to register their businesses and join the official economy.
For best results, the campaign diversified its tools, and started by elaborating a research paper based on a seminar and several focus group discussions with 40 business owners in Yefren, Sabha, Benghazi and Tripoli. Simultaneously, Jusoor centre managed to collect nearly 5000 signatures on a petition to promote women’s participation in economic development to influence lawmakers and decision-makers, to draft a resolution that includes incentives for women to register their businesses in order to create a better working environment for women and ensure their full rights of economic growth.
Additionally, Jusoor Center created a Facebook page to serve as an interactive platform and a source of information for female entrepreneurs and start-ups, and produced several explanatory videos related to official and unofficial economy, and women’s economic participation. It has also managed to mobilize local actors who joined the campaign, like Women’s Rights Defenders Network and Silphium project among others. The campaign was covered by different social media and local and regional media outlets such Al Arabiya Net.
The campaign was conducted within the framework of the CSO WINS project « Capacity building in Southern Mediterranean to open policy dialogue and monitoring for women in society » which is funded by the European Union in synergy with the action of the Euro-Mediterranean Women Foundation. It is also worth mentioning that the campaign was coordinated in partnership with Gender Alternatives Foundation (GAF) in Bulgaria as part of a peer-to-peer learning exchange.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 “Strengthening the capacities of equality actors” of the Priority Solidarity Fund “Women for the future in the Mediterranean” funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women’s Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.