The government plans to introduce a US$6.5 million loan facility tailored explicitly for women entrepreneurs, with 25 percent designated for women with disabilities, President Mohamed Muizzu has revealed. This announcement was made during the High-Level Closing Ceremony of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Business Network (GBN) Forum 2024, hosted in Antigua and Barbuda.

President Muizzu outlined three calls for action during his address, according to the President’s Office. Firstly, he underscored the necessity to bolster investments in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and young entrepreneurs. Additionally, he emphasised the significance of streamlining cross-border trade, safeguarding the intellectual property rights of MSMEs, and fostering a regulatory environment conducive to investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.

President Muizzu also highlighted the need to prioritise inclusivity and empower local communities to enhance connectivity between businesses and governments. He highlighted the potential of this collaboration to achieve common goals, ranging from infrastructure development to disaster risk reduction, which is particularly crucial in SIDS due to the dispersed nature of the islands.

The President also urged the establishment of platforms to forge partnerships and share experiences. He stressed that the primary challenge SIDS faces is limited or restricted access to affordable financing for development. President Muizzu also acknowledged the complexities of balancing economic growth and sustainability, which hinder investment due to the small market, limited creditworthiness, and susceptibility to debt distress in SIDS.

In conclusion, President Muizzu stressed the necessity for continued dialogue between businesses and government agencies to facilitate knowledge sharing, partnership development, and increased collaborations. He also called upon banks, multilateral institutions, and other financial entities to prioritise actions that make finance more accessible, affordable, and tailored to the needs of the private sector.