Entrepreneurship is seen as a vehicle to drive growth and to help alleviate poverty in Africa, with women entrepreneurs being the mainstay of instruments of development and financial inclusion.
Yet, African women attempting to start their own business are usually at a disadvantage due to cultural and gender biases and other factors such as limited access to education and finance, as well as, fewer entrepreneurial opportunities.
Fortunately, some African countries are beating the odds to produce a good number of female entrepreneurs. They have shown that the rise of women in entrepreneurship is not necessarily associated with the pace of their country’s wealth and economic development, as evidenced in the 2018 Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE).
The MIWE focuses on the progress and achievements of women entrepreneurs or business owners around the world with a focus on 57 different economies spanning five geographic areas – Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East & Africa.
The weighted index 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. The factors include Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Access to Knowledge and Financial Services, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.
Based on the Index, here are the top 5 countries from Africa with the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs: