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African Nations Are Setting The Bar For Women’s Entrepreneurship

Botswana, Uganda, and Ghana have once again been recognized as global leaders in terms of the number of women entrepreneurs, as per the 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE). This marks the third consecutive year that these African nations have topped the list, with Botswana leading the way at 38.5%, followed closely by Uganda at 38.4%, and Ghana at 37.2%.

The MIWE report emphasizes the substantial socio-economic contributions of women entrepreneurs worldwide, shedding light on the factors that both drive and hinder their progress. In many African countries, women’s advancement in the entrepreneurial sphere faces challenges such as less supportive business conditions, limited access to funding, reduced opportunities for higher education, and structural obstacles.

Remarkably, despite grappling with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, women entrepreneurs in Africa have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability. Particularly in low and middle-income economies, women often outperform men in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

Notably, Nigeria has also earned recognition in the MIWE 2021 report. Together with Angola and Ghana, Nigeria topped the global rankings in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Activity Rate. Moreover, Nigeria secured the second spot globally for the percentage of “women professional and technical workers” at 59.1%, while Angola ranked second globally in hiring intentions, with 16.4% of adults expressing plans to employ six or more individuals in the near future.

Botswana, in addition to its ranking in the top three for women’s business ownership, also stands out in terms of advancement outcomes for women, especially in income-related performance. Botswana has surpassed high-income and developed economies like Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia. Additionally, Botswana has achieved a high score in the “women’s labor force participation rates,” ranking 13th globally.

Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa at MasterCard commended these African countries for their dedication to entrepreneurial and SME activities. Momoh emphasized the outstanding determination of women in Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Angola to provide for themselves and their families, overcoming various financial, regulatory, and technical challenges. In these economies, women have harnessed opportunities in their environments to become business owners, leaders, and professional or technical workers.