By Mark Kawalya
A Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) listed Botswana, Uganda and Ghana as the top three countries on the continent that have the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs. This rating has been maintained for the third consecutive year, with Botswana at 38.5% leading the group, closely followed by Uganda (38.4%) and Ghana (37.2%).
The index is derived by calculating a percentage of the total number of business owners and is the fifth edition of the MIWE, which showcases the contributions women entrepreneurs make to the business world. The index also provides insight into the causative factors that hinder or promote advancement.
Over the years, MIWE has discovered that the advancement of women in many African countries is hindered by lack of funding, unfavorable entrepreneurial conditions, less opportunities for education alongside structural barriers.
However, Botswana is one of the 15 countries in Africa with some of the most favorable outcomes for women, especially when it comes to earning potential. Similarly, the country ranks highly in MIWEs’ 2021 “Female Labour Force Participation Rates,” placing 13th in the world.
An observation MIWE made was that despite the rate of female entrepreneurial activity declining worldwide, a number of African countries are registering a burst of gains in this area indicating a positive entrepreneurial response to the pandemic.
South Africa Nigeria, Angola and Botswana performed well, with Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana taking first place. This ranking is despite the governments of countries like Nigeria and Angola’s support of SMEs.
Interestingly, in Nigeria and Angola, MIWE discovered that the entrepreneurial activity of women outpaced that of men, despite women being marginalized in terms of opportunities.
However, both economies present a strong and optimistic culture that is a driver for entrepreneurship. The report stated that these healthy entrepreneurial attitudes foster women’s aspirations to strive towards becoming financially independent.
According to Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa at Mastercard, women in Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola paint an excellent picture of the determination women have to meet their needs and those of their families, despite financial, regulatory, and technical difficulties. He added that in such countries, women are able to take advantage of opportunities in their different environments to become business owners, leaders, technical workers and professionals.