BusinessDay

Nigeria ties Angola, Ghana in top women’s Entrepreneurial activity globally

Nigeria, alongside Angola and Ghana has been jointly ranked first globally in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Activity Rate in MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) 2021.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry which aims to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.

This is the fifth edition of the MIWE which puts the spotlight on the significant socio-economic contribution of women entrepreneurs around the world, including Africa, and provides insights on the factors driving and inhibiting their advancement.

According to the MIWE, Nigeria also ranked second globally for the number of ‘women professional and technical workers’ 59.1 percent while Angola ranked second globally in hiring intentions with 16.4 percent of adults planning to employ six or more people in the next.

Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager and Area Business head for West Africa at MasterCard applauds the African countries for their effort in entrepreneurial and SMEs activities.

“Women in Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola stand out as excellent examples of women’s determination to provide for themselves and their families, despite facing financial, regulatory and technical challenges. In these economies women are able to leverage on opportunities in their respective environments to be business owners, leaders and professional or technical workers,” Ebehijie said

However, the report indicates that despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and economic downturn, women entrepreneurs in Africa are resilient and adaptable, particularly those in low and middle-income economies, often surpassing men in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

These rankings according to MIWE came through, despite the fact that in Nigeria and Angola ‘government SME support’ (ranked 62 and 53 respectively) and ‘general access to finance’ (ranked 61 and 63 respectively) which stood low.

On the other hand, Ghana scores slightly better on these metrics at 44 for ‘government SME support’ and 37 for ‘access to finance’, ranking 6th globally (69.7 percent) for ‘entrepreneurial attitudes and perceptions.

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In both Nigeria and Angola, women’s entrepreneurial activity rate exceeded men’s even though women tend to be marginalized in terms of opportunities. Both economies display a strong, optimistic culture where there are ‘perceived business opportunities’. These positive and healthy entrepreneurial attitudes boost women’s aspiration to become more financially independent

Similarly, Botswana, closely followed by Uganda and Ghana were ranked as the countries with the most women business owners globally as a percentage of total business owners in the MIWE benchmark indicator, making it three consecutive times to take the lead.

While Botswana takes the lead with (38.7 percent), Uganda and Ghana followed up with 38.4 and 37.2 percent respectively.

Botswana, however, scores in the top 15 economies globally in terms of advancement outcomes for women, particularly as far as performance by income is concerned, out-performing high-income and developed economies such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia.

They also scores highly in MIWE 2021’s ‘women’s labour force participation rates’, ranking 13th globally, irrespective of the fact that, in many African countries, women’s advancement is hampered by less supportive entrepreneurial conditions, a lack of funding, less opportunities for higher-level education, as well as structural barriers.

Irrespective of the decline in most economies, a number of countries gained in ‘women’s entrepreneurial activity rate’, indicating a strong positive entrepreneurial response to the pandemic.

In addition, Angola ranked first globally in ‘female opportunity driven entrepreneurship’ and sixth in ‘self-perceived business capabilities’.

According to MIWE, women in Malawi, a less wealthy economy continue to defy the odds and are making strong inroads in the business world despite socio-cultural barriers and infrastructural constraints such as a lack of government SME support, poor access to entrepreneurial finances and severe lack of opportunities for education. The gender gaps in entrepreneurial activity rate in Malawi are amongst the narrowest on a global scale.

MasterCard also made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025. Not only will empowering women’s entrepreneurship act as a catalyst for growth and innovation, but it will raise up the communities around successful women and fuel a global recovery that is more equitable and sustainable for everyone.

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