African countries rank in the bottom half of countries globally for fostering high-potential female entrepreneurship, with access to financial services and training a critical shortcoming in Africa, according to research by the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI).
The Female Entrepreneurship Index 2015 considers the extent to which 77 countries across the world foster entrepreneurship among women.
The index measures 30 indicators spanning the three categories of entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and entrepreneurial aspirations – each of the three pillars subdivided into five pillars containing multiple factors.
The results of the 2015 index saw 61 per cent of countries surveyed fail to reach a score of 50 out of 100.
In Africa, South Africa performed the highest, ranked 36th worldwide, with a score of 44.2 out of 100. Botswana came next at number 53, scoring 36.4 points; while Africa’s third highest placed country was Tunisia at number 61, scoring 30.7.
The other African countries included in the index came even lower in the rankings, with Zambia placed 64th, Egypt at 66, Algeria at 67, Angola in 68th place, Ghana in 69th, Ethiopia at 72, Uganda at 74, and – in second last place globally – Malawi at 76.
The research also made regional recommendations for the most pressing issues in need of being addressed. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the recommended focus areas for improvement are women’s access to bank accounts and access to financial training programmes.
According to GEDI, research into the conditions that support female entrepreneurship is necessary, as there is “growing appreciation” that these conditions are different from those which favour male entrepreneurship.
As such, the report aims to distill the most important issues for policy makers, governmental officials, and other decision makers who are interested in improving the conditions for high potential female entrepreneurship development.
“Women entrepreneurs play a substantial role in growing their economies. When a country does not achieve its full potential, the economy suffers. Fewer ‘high potential’ female entrepreneurs result in fewer ideas being realized, less innovation, less export potential, and fewer jobs created,” the report said.
“Through their entrepreneurial activities, high-potential female entrepreneurs increase their own economic welfare, and also improve the economic and social fabric of society through job creation, innovative products, processes, and services, and cross-border trade.”