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Identifying obstacles and unlocking potential

Women are a lever for economic growth, but they need to be given the opportunity to make their business ventures grow. This is the main argument of the recent World Bank report, Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women's Business in Africa.

This report on the gender constraints affecting the choices and performance of women entrepreneurs sheds a new light on how social norms, networks and decisions taken at household level contribute to business success - or failure. Because, when it comes to entrepreneurship, women are at a disadvantage. Based on household and business survey data from 14 African countries, the report traces the common characteristics of barriers to women’s entrepreneurship: customary laws restricting access to land, equal rights that are insufficiently guaranteed by law, patriarchy, lower levels of training, reduced access to networks and information, etc.

The report offers policymakers evidence-based guidance on designing programmes to target the multiple obstacles women face and improve the performance of women entrepreneurs. These include training programmes to encourage women to act with an entrepreneurial mindset and provide secure savings mechanisms. It is also important, among other policies and interventions, for governments to remove legal constraints to gender equality and to strengthen land tenure rights for women.

With more women in Africa than in any other region of the world launching into business, it is time for their potential to benefit everyone, starting with themselves.

Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women's Business in Africa

World Bank, 2019; 206 pp.

In this issue

Interview

“Digitalisation is not a replacement but a complementary process”

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Edward Mabaya, manager of agribusiness development at the African Development Bank, explores what is needed to scale digital projects in Africa’s food market to achieve development on the continent.

Spore exclusive
Analysis

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Smallholder farmers in Africa continue to face numerous hurdles accessing credit or loans to increase their production. Amongst other factors, partnerships are key to addressing this, but governments need to take the lead, state experts from the sector.

News

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Sesi Technologies is working to tackle poverty and hunger by providing African farmers with affordable technology to help them increase productivity and reduce losses. Co-founder, Isaac Sesi, speaks about his passion for technology and the importance of encouraging more women and young people into the sector.

Analysis

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Rural women farmers are earning additional incomes by harvesting a wild grass variety and selling to a local start-up for processing into biodegradable straws and stirrers.

Interview

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Global Lead for Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Jobs at the World Bank, Parmesh Shah, shares his opinion on how Africa can enhance its food systems through D4Ag collaboration and innovation.

News

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Whilst addressing the problem of post-harvest losses, entrepreneur Aldred Dogue discovered the ready-to-cook vegetable market and established Africa Food Mill to meet growing demand.