South Africa, Botswana and Ghana has been ranked as Africa’s best place to be a woman entrepreneur, according to a new report released Monday.
The nation jumped up three places this year to steal the title from New Zealand after Covid-19 caused a shakeup in the annual Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE).
The three frontrunners were joined in the top 10 by Uganda, Nigeria Angola, Malawi, Ethiopia, Tunisia and Egypt.
According to the index, women in Africa ranked among the top 10 in terms of access to financial products and services, support for SMEs and opportunities to enroll in higher-level education.
Women in Africa economies such as Tunisia, Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi, Angola, and Uganda are undermined by a lack of opportunities financially and academically, less developed physical infrastructure and lower business support.
Also according to the study, some of the highest proportions of women’s business ownership in Africa are observed in Uganda (39.1% female business owners out of total owners), Botswana (38.5%) and Angola (30.6%) despite extremely poor support for SMEs.
This year’s report comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which experts say has disproportionately impacted women.
That has led female founders to look for new ways of working, including tapping into new business opportunities and realigning existing models, the report found.
More than two-fifths (42%) of women business owners shifted to an online business model under the pandemic and over a third (37%) developed an area of business that meets new local or global needs. An additional third (34%) identified new business opportunities because of the virus.
But it has also highlighted the need to create a more inclusive environment for women entrepreneurs as the global economy seeks to get back on track after the pandemic.
“The long-awaited call for governments, institutions, and organizations to close the gender gap has never been more urgent,” the report said.
“Now in the midst of what has been termed the worst global recession since World War II, the need to narrow this gender disparity is even more critical in driving forward an equitable and sustained economic recovery,” it added.
About (MIWE) Index
Now in its fourth year, MIWE examines the working environments of 58 economies — representing almost 80% of the world’s female labor force — to measure their success in fostering and advancing female entrepreneurship. Drawing on global data from the World Bank and OECD, the study assesses economies across indicators including access to education and financing, as well as other supporting factors.