The three countries ranked at 38.5 percent, 38.4 percent, and 37.2 percent by the index benchmark indicator which is calculated as a percentage of total business owners.

MIWE focuses on putting the spotlight on the significant socio-economic contribution of women entrepreneurs around the world, including in Africa, and provides insights on the factors driving and inhibiting their advancement.

The report listed lack of funding, fewer opportunities for higher-level education, as well as structural barriers as some of the factors which hinder women’s advancement.

Botswana, however, scores in the top 15 economies globally in terms of advancement outcomes for women, particularly as far as performance by income is concerned, out-performing high-income and developed economies such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia.

Botswana also scores highly in MIWE 2021’s ‘women’s labor force participation rates, ranking 13th globally.

Encouragingly, although ‘women’s entrepreneurial activity rate’ declined in most economies, a number of African countries saw gains in this area, indicating a strong positive entrepreneurial response to the pandemic. Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, South Africa, and Botswana all performed well in ‘women’s entrepreneurial activity rate’ with Nigeria, Angola and Ghana ranking in the joint first place.

These rankings are despite the fact that in Nigeria and Angola ‘government SME support’ (ranked 62 and 53 respectively) and ‘general access to finance’ (ranked 61 and 63 respectively) are near the bottom of the rankings.

Ghana scores slightly better on these metrics at 44 for ‘government SME support’ and 37 for ‘access to finance’. Ghana is ranked 6th globally (69.7 percent) for ‘entrepreneurial attitudes and perceptions.

In both Nigeria and Angola, women’s entrepreneurial activity rate exceeded men’s even though women tend to be marginalized in terms of opportunities. Both economies display a strong, optimistic culture where there are ‘perceived business opportunities. These positive and healthy entrepreneurial attitudes boost women’s aspiration to become more financially independent.

According to the MIWE, Nigeria also ranked second globally for the number of ‘women professional and technical workers (59.1 percent) while Angola ranked second globally in hiring intentions with 16.4percent of adults planning to employ six or more people in the next five years.

In addition, Angola ranked first globally in ‘female opportunity-driven entrepreneurship’ and sixth in ‘self-perceived business capabilities’.

“Women in Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola stand out as excellent examples of women’s determination to provide for themselves and their families, despite facing financial, regulatory and technical challenges. In these economies women are able to leverage on opportunities in their respective environments to be business owners, leaders and professional or technical workers,” said Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa at Mastercard.

In Malawi, a less wealthy economy, women continue to defy the odds and are making strong inroads in the business world despite socio-cultural barriers and infrastructural constraints such as a lack of government SME support, poor access to entrepreneurial finances, and severe lack of opportunities for education. The gender gaps in entrepreneurial activity rate in Malawi are amongst the narrowest on a global scale.

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