Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator: AIFC as a coordinator of the global initiative in Kazakhstan

On July 1, 2021, Women’s Economic Empowerment Forum commenced as part of the Astana Finance Days. The opening session “Closing the Gender Gap” was dedicated to the accelerator program of the World Economic Forum.

“Closing the Gender Gap” accelerator is aimed to create better opportunities for women, advancing them to leading positions and increase their participation in the labour force by reskilling women to be ready for re-employment in high growth sectors. The collaborative model brings together public and private sector leaders focused on accelerating gender parity for future generations. Kazakhstan became the first country to launch the Accelerator in Central Asia, as a Letter of Intent was signed between Kazakhstan state bodies, World Economic Forum (WEF) and Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).

Representatives from WEF and Kazakhstan participated in the session including Anar Omarova – Senior Advisor to the Governor of AIFC, Saadia Zahidi – Managing Director of World Economic Forum; Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat – Minister of International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Lazzat Ramazanova – Member of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairwoman of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan.

During the session AIFC presented WEF with Special AIFC Award for creating initiative at a national level that made a distinctive contribution towards supporting gender balance across countries, facilitating education, development, and professional growth of women, and implementing practices for improving women’s rights and possibilities.


Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society, World Economic Forum:

“On behalf of the World Economic Forum, I would like to extend our sincere thanks on receiving the Special AIFC Award. Embedding gender parity across workplaces, educational systems, and households remains a critical imperative and we remain committed to achieving this goal. While tackling these issues is a complex challenge, it is through collaboration among government and business leaders that we can create systemic, sustainable progress. We look forward to our partnership as we work to close economic gender gaps through the launch of the Accelerator in Kazakhstan.”

AIFC, a local coordinator, invited private and quasi-state companies to join the program. This marks one of the largest collaborations between the private and governing sector with more than 50 companies invited to participate in the accelerator.

Lazzat Ramazanova, Member of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairwoman of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy under the President of Kazakhstan:

“Our vision for achieving gender equality and empowering women is fully aligned with the goals of the “Closing the Gender Gap” accelerator.

I call on private sector companies to take part in such a global initiative, share their views on improving this issue, and also contribute to the achievement of gender equality in Kazakhstan and around the world. “


Anar Omarova, Senior Advisor to the Governor of AIFC:

“AIFC has joined the accelerator as the local coordinator responsible for facilitation of the collaboration between the public and private sectors to take proactive action to advance women’s economic empowerment. Going forward, we will work with quasi-public and private sector partners to generate in-depth local assessment that will ultimately result in action plan with key targets for women’s economic empowerment in different fields and on all levels.”


Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt:

“The launch of Egypt’s Gender Gap accelerator highlights the Government of Egypt’s political will and economic commitment to apply required policies and structural reforms to push the gender agenda and empower Egyptian women. The female participation in the economy is macro-critical, it is no longer lip service. To ensure sustainable economic growth, inclusion is the only way forward. According to the IMF, women’s equal integration in the Egyptian economy will directly affect its GDP; increasing it by approximately 34 percent. Hence, the Gender Gap Accelerator’s Action Plan maps out executional tasks for each multi-stakeholder actor across the public and private sectors in order to generate local insight, develop needs-based implementation plans, and drive their execution.”



AIFC. The AIFC was established on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In December 2015 President Nazarbayev approved the Constitutional Statute “On the Astana International Financial Centre” (AIFC). The aim of the AIFC is to establish a leading international centre for financial services. The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in financial services, develop local capital markets, ensuring their integration with the international capital markets.

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