Report: Botswana, Uganda, Ghana Show Highest Concentration of Women Entrepreneurs

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Emma Okonji

The 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) report has for the third consecutive year ranked Botswana (38.5 per cent), Uganda (38.4 per cent)and Ghana (37.2 per cent) as the countries with the most women business owners globally. 

The Index’s benchmark indicator is calculated as a percentage of total business owners. 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 report, “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. 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. Botswana also scores highly in MIWE 2021’s ‘women’s labour force participation rates’, ranking 13th globally.”

The report said although ‘women’s entrepreneurial activity rate’ declined in most economies, a number of African countries saw gains in this area, indicating a strong positive entrepreneurial response to the pandemic. The report said Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, South Africa and Botswana all performed well in ‘women’s entrepreneurial activity rate’ with Nigeria, Angola and Ghana ranking in joint first place. These rankings are 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) are near the bottom of the rankings. Ghana scores slightly better on these metrics at 44  for ‘government SME support’ and 37 for ‘access to finance’. Ghana is ranked 6th globally (69.7%) for ‘entrepreneurial attitudes and perceptions’, the report said.

In both Nigeria and Angola, women’s entrepreneurial activity rate exceeded men’s even though women tend to be marginalised 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. 

According to the MIWE report, Nigeria also ranked second globally for the number of ‘women professional and technical workers’ (59.1%) while Angola ranked second globally in hiring intentions with 16.4% of adults planning to employ six or more people in the next five years. In addition, Angola ranked first globally in ‘female opportunity driven entrepreneurship’ and sixth in ‘self-perceived business capabilities’.