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Profiting from Parity : Unlocking the Potential of Women's Businesses in Africa : Main Report (French)

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world, with approximately 42 percent of the non-agricultural labor force classified as self-employed or employers. Yet most entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses beyond small-scale subsistence operations, impeding their contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. This is particularly so for women. As governments continue their efforts to improve the conditions for private investment, a focus on the specific constraints faced by women entrepreneurs can help maximize the returnsto limited public resources and ensure the benefits of private sector development are felt by everyone. Women play a key role in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, sub-SaharanAfrica is the only region where women make up the majority of those who are entrepreneurs. However, a range of impediments render women’s businesses less productive and having fewer employees than those owned by men. This new report, “Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Businesses in Africa”, produced by the World Bank Group’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab and the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, seeks to focus attention on the challenges that Africa’s women entrepreneurs face and identify practical solutions. The report draws on new, high-quality, household and firm level data to present theclearest evidence to date about the barriers to growth and profitability faced by women entrepreneurs. It goes beyond looking at contextual, endowment and household restrictions in isolation, and, through deep-dive analysis, uncovers new evidence on how social norms, networks and household-level decision making contribute to business performance. It analyzes how they are linked to each other and to women’s strategic business decisions. The report offers policy makers evidence based guidance on designing programs to target multiple obstacles and improve theperformance of women entrepreneurs. The policies recommended by the report include training programs that apply lessons from psychology to encourage women to act with an entrepreneurial mindset; secure savings mechanisms that provide a layer of privacy and security in the management of funds; and large grants as part of business plan competitions to address capital constraints of growth-oriented firms. As part of its Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) approach, the World Bank Group continues to support policymakers in their efforts to improve the business enablingenvironment and crowd in private sector development support. However, we also recognize that the results of these efforts will be limited if they are gender-neutral and are not informed by evidence on what works to support women entrepreneurs to profitably run and grow their businesses.We are hopeful that the findings of this report will drive action to ensure that women can fully access the benefits of improved business opportunities. The World Bank Group will strive to operationalize this evidence in policy dialogue and program design with our clients and partners. The continent is full of promise and, by addressing the difficulties women entrepreneurs face, we can unlock the potential of women’s businesses to become a major driver of economic growth and poverty reduction.

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Citation

Campos,Francisco Moraes Leitao Coleman,Rachel Dawn Conconi,Adriana Donald,Aletheia Amalia Gassier,Marine Goldstein,Markus P. Chavez,Zenaida L. Mikulski, Joanna Milazzo,Annamaria Paryavi,Maliheh Pierotti,Rachael Susan O'Sullivan,Michael B. Vaillant,Julia

Profiting from Parity : Unlocking the Potential of Women's Businesses in Africa : Main Report (French). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/691251563902252416/Main-Report