Too often the narrative on women in Africa is characterized by oppression and marginalization in a system that tends to work against them. While the case is not untrue, it is important to acknowledge women who are changing this narrative and inverting a whole paradigm. The number of female entrepreneurs entering the business space has been growing rapidly over the past decade. From a steel manufacturing company in South Africa, through intricate clothing designers in Nigeria, to the vast array of cross-border traders in West and East Africa and much more. According to the World Bank, the rate of female entrepreneurship is higher in Africa than in any other region in the world. Reports by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) state that Africa leads the world in the number of women starting businesses with equal participation between men and women in most countries whereas in countries like Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria women outnumber men. While this new wave of growth is happening throughout the continent, there still remains a significant number of women who are yet to realize their potential. The ability to reach this untapped business potential of half of the continent’s population will support a more inclusive and sustainable growth. Women’s access to financing is considered to be the most crucial instrument in advancing their economic capacity. The African Development Bank (AfDB) aims to leverage this untapped potential through affirmative finance. Affirmative finance acknowledges gender disparities in regulatory and institutional environments that make up the entrepreneurial ecosystem and aims to address and transform all elements of this ecosystem. A study was commissioned by the AfDB to achieve its goal to promote women in business across Africa. The study conducted deep-dive analysis in six countries covering all regions of the continent and highlighted various challenges experienced by female entrepreneurs in Kenya, Cameroon, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria and Zambia, which represent a good diversity of users and as potential users of financial services.
Type: