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Record number of countries delegates to 2006 Global Summit of Women in Cairo is "Linking BusinessWomen Worldwide" and the latest summit has recorded the highest number of countries participating. Read about the partnering of governments with businesses to improve women's economic lives and the initiatives announced at the summit.
Nine hundred women leaders from 89 economies brought the widest representation to the June 10-12th Global Summit of Women hosted by Egypt this year with First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, long known for her work on behalf of women, as its patron.
This year’s Summit participants came from business, government, the professions and non-governmental organizations spanning all the major continents.
“As the Summit has grown over the years, it is wonderful to see more and more nations joining this unique global gathering that continues its focus on advancing women’s economic progress worldwide,” states Summit President Irene Natividad. 

The largest group of participants to the 2006 Summit outside ofEgypt came from the United States, with an official U.S. government delegation led by the Undersecretary of State Henrietta Holsman Fore.  Vietnam’s Vice-President My Troung Hoa, who also served as Honorary Summit Co-Chair, led a 62-member delegation which included 8 ministers with women entrepreneurs making up the rest.  The third largest representation came from South Africa with 38 participants led by Minister of Forestry and Water Works Lindiwe Hendricks.  The U.K., Mexico and China followed with 30+ member delegations.

Outpacing its own record attendance last year, Microsoft outnumbered all country delegations with 115 participants from 32 countries, who met in a full-day briefing prior to the actual Summit.  IBM and Cisco Systems also had sizeable corporate ‘delegates’ who joined other business leaders from Deutsche
Telekom, Deutsche Poste, McKinsey, Accenture, R.R. Donnelly, British Gas, Hudson Highland, Unilever, Commercial International Bank of Egypt, to name a few.  

The majority of Summit participants, however, came from enterprises of all sizes organized by over 50 women’s business and entrepreneurial organizations from around the world, who are Members or International Partners of the Summit (See full listing on
“What is so unique about the Summit is this rare combination of government leaders, businesswomen,
entrepreneurs and heads of business/professional associations who come together in a solutions-oriented dialogue that is truly international in scope,” states Sungjoo Kim, CEO of Sungjoo International and MCM.  She adds:  “This is what keeps me coming year after year!” 
For photos and presentations at this year’s Summit, please log on to, click to the ‘Global Summit of Women’.

A Ministerial Roundtable preceded the Summit with 44 women ministers in attendance whose portfolios ranged from Foreign Affairs to Women’s Affairs.
Vietnam’s ministerial delegation of 8 (which included two male deputy ministers) ranked it first in this grouping.  The African continent had the best representation at the Roundtable with 21 out of 44 women ministers coming from that region.   

Ministers exchanged examples of partnerships between government and business from their respective countries, which opened up economic opportunities for women. 
At the same time, companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Unilever shared with the government ministers sample projects in which each company has partnered with national or local governments.  The Global Summit of Women is compiling these examples for dissemination through its website,, and the conference itself.

In conjunction with the Middle East Partnership Initiative, Microsoft launched a Women in Technology project in the Arab region, announced at the Cairo Summit. 
Initially targeting women in Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the project will help build community centers which will provide IT skills and general business skills, as well as create a network of women and organizations across the region. 
Microsoft also announced at the Summit a $1 million initiative to combat trafficking of women in selected Asian countries through the provision of training programs in IT skills so as to create alternative
income sources.

Partnering with Egypt’s National Council of Women, IBM’s Technology Development Center in Egypt launched a ‘Women Development Community Portal’ that will be a source of information for women in Egypt and the Middle East.  In announcing this initiative prior to the Summit’s opening, IBM’s Vice President for Global Market Development, Marilyn Johnson, noted that the company “was one
of the first to recognize that women-owned businesses were growing at a tremendous rate and were making a tremendous impact on the global economy.”

At the Summit’s June 12th luncheon program, CIB (Commercial International Bank of Egypt) announced its inclusion in the Global Banking Alliance , a program of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.  Egypt’s Minister of Investment, Mahmoud Mohieldin, presided at the signing ceremony along with Sahar el Sallab, Vice Chairman and Managing director at CIB and its First Vice
Chairman, Mohamed Ashmawy. 
CIB is the first member of the Alliance from the Middle East and Northern Africa. 
The Alliance is a consortium of best practices banks that leverage women’s market for profit as well as social good.

The leaders of the Chinese Association of Women Entrepreneurs, the Egyptian Association of Women Entrepreneurs and the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce announced a joint partnership that will explore the production of goods in Egypt by women-owned enterprises. 
Other women business leaders found partners and distributors at the Summit, including Gisele Rufer, Founder of Delance, a line of women’s watches, who found a distributor in China;  and Sung-joo Kim, who met an Egyptian distributor for her luxury leather products, MCM. 
Summit President Irene Natividad noted that “the Summit’s intent has always been practical.  No
signing of documents, but rather a forum with actual results.”