Africa a world leader in women business owners

Ghana has the highest percentage of women business owners worldwide, according to the 2018 Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship.

The Index examined 57 different economies around the globe, including Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda; with Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi as new additions.

According to the report, 46,4% of businesses operated in Ghana are owned by women, while 33.8% of businesses in Uganda are women-owned, outperforming Australia and the USA, where businesses owned by women amount to 32.1% and 25,5% respectively.

South Africa moves up one place from last year to rank 22nd. The survey found that South Africa has made progress in reducing the gender bias for women engaging in early stage entrepreneurial activities but found that women account for only 18.8% of business owners.

Nigeria and Ghana scored particularly well in terms of advancement outcomes: the women entrepreneurial activity rate was 100 percent, with overall scores in this regard coming in at 62.4 percent and 59.1 percent respectively. African countries also scored highly in women labour force participation – with Malawi at 100 percent, Ghana at 96.1 percent, and Ethiopia at 86.6 percent.

South Africa excelled in sharing knowledge assets with women and providing financial access, with a score of 84.3 percent– coming in 6th out of 57 countries. Botswana followed closely with a score of 73 percent.  Botswana and South Africa were the highest scoring African countries in the Index overall with scores of 66.5 percent and 64.2 percent respectively.

When compared to other African markets surveyed Botswana leads the charge with the highest rate of Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions, at 68.1 percent, this is an increase of 2 percent from last year. The continent scored highly in terms of women Financial Inclusion with South Africa at 98.7 percent, Ghana scoring 84.6 percent, and 77.1 percent in Ethiopia.

The index results revealed that female entrepreneurs in developing countries are driven by grit and determination, along with a desire to provide for their families.

At the same time, the 2018 Grant Thornton International Business Report shows almost one third (29%) of senior roles in South Africa are now filled by women. But, at the same time, one in five local businesses (20%) still have no women at all in senior positions.

According to a 2016 report released by McKinsey, titled Women Matter Africa, African companies with boards that are at least one-quarter female experience on average, 20% higher earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) than the industry average.

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