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Women’s share in Saudi commerce records sharp rise

A report said the ministry has enacted a number of programs to enhance the role women play in society and their participation in the country’s economy

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Saudi businesswomen have increased their share in the commercial sector by registering 10,184 new firms in 2013, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s annual report showed the total number of commercial registrations by Saudi businesswomen reached 54,231 in 2013, compared to 44,047 in 2012.

The report said the ministry has enacted a number of programs to enhance the role women play in society and their participation in the country’s economy.

Of the most important procedures is the establishment of businesswomen service centers in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, and Madinah, while other similar service centers are under consideration in various parts of the Kingdom, the report noted.

The report pointed out that the ministry is allowing women to be members of boards of directors and it has also allowed them to participate in all commercial and industrial activities.

"Businesswomen have become more aware of commercial opportunities, and are playing an important role in contributing to the national economy, in addition to active participation in local and world economic events," the report stated.

The report showed that women’s investments in the commercial sector have reached SR3 billion and women-owned companies make up 4.3 percent of all companies in the private sector.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has taken up measures to facilitate the issuance of commercial registrations and the time required for registration has dropped from two days in 2012 to 24 hours in 2013.

New commercial registrations are now issued electronically and Riyadh was at the forefront of issuing electronic commercial registrations in 2013 with 21,550 such registrations, compared to 21,961 in 2012.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette, August 2, 2014.