Did you know that women represent more than half of Africa’s talent pool yet remain underrepresented in many sectors both public and private? It is critical for African women to take their rightful place, not just out of a sense of fairness, but to ensure that the very best and dynamic minds, men’s and women’s alike, are brought together to address the multiple challenges that the continent is facing.
At Green Capital Africa Foundation (GCAF), we believe that equal opportunities for women and men in Africa are vital to igniting entrepreneurship that will build much required jobs and spur economic growth on the continent. Africa’s women have the potential to transform the continent for the better through scaled-up entrepreneurship that will build new jobs for Africa’s growing working age population.
There is a need to put in place new, innovative mechanisms that can propel African women to become masters of their own destiny. According to the World Bank (2018), Africa is the only region in the world where more women than men choose to become entrepreneurs but this phenomena is barely put under the spotlight.
It is important to overcoming traditional stereotypes and isolation that deters female entrepreneurship from its full potential. Speeding up change and taking female entrepreneurship success to scale is vital to ensuring that Africa’s women become an even stronger force to be reckoned with.
It’s not to say that men have it easy in entrepreneurship in Africa but women on the continent are disproportionately affected by inequality, and face huge obstacles at both micro- and macro-level. Data collected in ten African countries by the World Bank indicated that on average, male-owned enterprises have six times more capital than female-owned enterprises. Women have less start-up and investment capital, and possess little or no collateral security.
Women are pivotal to our mission at GCAF, and we fully acknowledge their key role in building Africa’s growth and prosperity. At our inaugural #EntrepreneursOnTheMove conference held from October 2 – 4, 2019 in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, we actively recognized and highlighted African women’s entrepreneurial efforts and success, partnering with the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) to promote the agenda of women in entrepreneurship as well as Women in Tech Africa (WITA).
We believe that institutions and other key players within African entrepreneurship ecosystems should develop deliberate mechanisms to support female entrepreneurs to achieve desired results and impacts.
By putting the spotlight on successful female entrepreneurs and sharing knowledge, we can create an environment that facilitates the creation of global partnerships for investments, technology exchange or market access that can take women-owned enterprises to a new level.