Opening Bank Doors to Women

The Thomas Yaccato Group forges New Partnership with World Bank Subsidiary

Olivia Ward - Foreign Affairs Writer
April 27, 2007

Pioneering GTA entrepreneur Joanne Thomas Yaccato takes on advisory role for World Bank subsidiary in Africa

In a recent survey, African businessmen were asked what they thought of women as entrepreneurs.

All very well and good, said one puzzled responder. “But how can property own property?”

That’s the kind of prejudice Joanne Thomas Yaccato is locking horns with, as the pioneering GTA entrepreneur takes on a new role with the World Bank’s private-sector arm to revolutionize the way African banks view business women.

As a consultant to the International Finance Corporation, which will distribute $40 million in international funds, her goal is to empower African women - providing the money and confidence they need to raise themselves, and the impoverished continent, from a life-and-death struggle to economic security.

Although new to Africa, Thomas Yaccato, 50, has spent decades dissolving the stereotypes that keep women beneath the “glass ceiling” of business success and prevent banks and other corporations from understanding how to satisfy them as clients.

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