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April 18 2017

Africa leads the charge in creating resilient women entrepreneurs

Uganda and Botswana have emerged as global leaders for women-owned businesses in Mastercard’s Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE).

Aimed at identifying factors and conditions which contribute to closing the gender gap among business owners in any given economy, the 2016 MIWE examined 54 different economies from around the globe. The weighted index comprising 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators took into account Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Access to Knowledge and Financial Services, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.

Uganda, which emerged as a ‘Surprise Performer’ and the top performing country with 34.8 per cent of businesses owned by women, especially excelled in terms of advancement outcomes. Uganda’s women entrepreneurial activity rate was 100 per cent, indicating that women in the country are as likely as their male counterparts to start a business activity. Financial access and knowledge-sharing assets also contributed to Uganda’s high performance, with 90.5 per cent of women business owners borrowing or saving in order to open their business – a significantly higher rate than the 52.4 per cent average of low to lower-middle income countries.

Botswana emerged as the second highest performing nation for women entrepreneurs with a rate of 34.6% – closely behind Uganda. Beyond that, Botswana achieved the best scores for providing supportive entrepreneurial conditions for women among all African nations.

Overall, the MIWE results reinforce the central role of women entrepreneurs in financial inclusion and economic growth across the African region. Specific findings revealed that women entrepreneurs in developing countries display innovation, resilience and determination in creating opportunities to provide for their families.

The full MIWE report can be accessed here.