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.
World Bank, 2019; 206 pp.
In this issue
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.
by Sophie Reeve
Smallholders in Kenya are receiving training in good soil practices and the application of 100% organic inputs to scale up soil restoration and reduce plant stress under changing climatic conditions.
by Olivia Frost
Climate change is a global crisis; millions of people are already suffering and the impacts are getting worse. Policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change are increasing but many argue that the window for action is closing and decision-makers need to do more, with greater urgency.
by Sophie Reeve
New policies, free trade areas and digital projects are changing Africa’s regional food trade and opening up market linkages for actors of the agricultural value chain across the continent.
A Nigerian start-up is using artificial intelligence (AI) to guarantee markets for smallholder farmers and improve procurement efficiencies for large buyers.
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.
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.
Malawian agriprenuer, Ngabaghila Chatata, is co-founder and managing director of Thanthwe Farms, an innovative agribusiness, which aims to be a leading producer of high-value horticultural produce in Malawi and across Africa.
Manka Angwafo, founder and managing director of grain handling company, Grassland, outlines the challenges of taking a business to scale, particularly for women, and offers advice to other women entrepreneurs about scaling up.
Diariétou Gaye, World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations for the Africa Region, looks at the findings of the report ‘Profiting from Parity’ on the potential of women entrepreneurship for the continent.