Cherie Blair to announce UAE business initiative to empower female entrepreneurs

The 100,000 Women Programme has already secured the participation of more than 100 business leaders in the Emirates

Cherie Blair set up the foundation five years ago to support female entrepreneurs. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE-UK Business Council will host its 20th plenary meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, during which a partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to encourage support for female entrepreneurs in less developed countries is due to be announced.

The 100,000 Women Programme has already secured the participation of more than 100 business leaders in the UAE, and there are plans to scale this up throughout the year ahead.

“There has never been a more critical time to invest in women entrepreneurs, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the distance still left to travel to meet our global goals for gender equality,” Lady Cherie Blair, the barrister, writer and wife of former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair, said in a statement.

“Through this new partnership, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is looking forward to recruiting more fantastic mentors and supporters from the UAE to enable our programmes to reach even more women entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries.”

Co-led by Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, and Lord Udny-Lister, the event marks the anniversary of the signing of two major bilateral agreements: the UAE-UK Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership.

The first of these aims to expand the bilateral economic relationship in sectors such as technology, education, health care and clean and renewable energy, with a particular emphasis on the two countries working together to address global challenges.

The Sovereign Investment Partnership between Mubadala and the UK Office for Investment has made significant investments in the technology, infrastructure, and clean and renewable energy sectors in the UK in the past 12 months and plans to sustain the momentum of engagement over the remainder of the five-year programme.

Climate and healthcare campaigns launched

As well as seeking the advancement of female empowerment, the plenary meeting will also address exigent issues relating to the environment and health care.

An Energy Transition White Paper will be launched as well as bilateral campaigns on decarbonisation and on cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment and care.

“[The UK and UAE] bilateral trade and investment relationship is becoming increasingly diverse, and new opportunities for collaboration are emerging in sectors that are rich in technology and innovation,” said Lord Udny-Lister before the meeting.

“The role of the UAE-UK Business Council is to develop and share knowledge on these trends so that the great potential unleashed by the Partnership for the Future and the Sovereign Investment Partnership can be realised.”

The collaborative spirit was echoed by Mansoor Abulhoul, the UAE's ambassador to the UK.

“The relationship between the UAE and the UK continues to go from strength to strength,” he said.

“By unlocking further economic opportunities together, we will be able to future-proof our societies and address the world’s most pressing challenges.

“The UAE-UK Business Council plays a key role in strengthening the crucially important business and investment ties between our societies to pursue our shared vision.”

Updated: October 17, 2022, 5:19 PM