Ghana has the highest percentage of women business owners worldwide, with Uganda in third, according to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE).
The MIWE is a weighted index that helps to better understand and identify factors and conditions that are most conducive to closing the gender gap among business owners in any given economy.
It examined 57 different economies around the globe, including Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda, with Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi as new additions.
Ghana came out on top, with 46.4 per cent of businesses in in the country owned by women. Uganda came in third, with 33.8 per cent of businesses women-owned.
Ghana also scored well in in terms of advancement outcomes, along with Nigeria, with overall scores in this regard coming in at 62.4 per cent and 59.1 per cent respectively. African countries also scored highly in women labour force participation – with Malawi at 100 per cent, Ghana at 96.1 per cent, and Ethiopia at 86.6 per cent.
South Africa excelled in sharing knowledge assets with women and providing financial access, with a score of 84.3 per cent – coming in sixth out of 57 countries. Botswana followed closely behind with a score of 73 per cent, with South Africa and Botswana the highest scoring African countries in the Index overall with scores of 66.5 per cent and 64.2 per cent respectively.
When compared to other African markets surveyed Botswana leads the charge with the highest rate of Supporting Entrepreneurial Conditions, at 68.1 per cent. The continent scored highly in terms of women Financial Inclusion with South Africa at 85.3 per cent, Ghana scoring 84.6 per cent, and 77.1 per cent in Ethiopia.
“Botswana, South Africa, Ghana and Uganda shine as examples of women’s determination to provide for themselves and their families and Africa excels at creating strong women entrepreneurs with the drive to succeed even in the face of financial, regulatory or technical constraints,” said Beatrice Cornacchia, head of marketing and communications for the Middle East and Africa at Mastercard.
An interesting outcome of the Index is that cultural perceptions of women entrepreneurs in Africa are predominantly positive. At 69.1 per cent in Uganda and 67.2 per cent in Nigeria, this is well above their Middle Eastern counterparts.
According to the Index, some women’s inclination towards business ownership may be undermined by limited access to education, financial and entrepreneurial opportunities. These are by no means only African – or developing – countries’ challenges, however. Women entrepreneurs even in developed nations face cultural and gender biases that restrict them from opening or expanding their own businesses.