A number of studies and researches over the past years have highlighted that gender equality is a smart economic tool. The unexploited potential of women is a lost opportunity for economic progress and development. Women’s economic participation promotes agricultural productivity, enterprise expansion at the micro and macro, small and medium enterprise levels, in addition to improving business management and returns on investments.
Besides boosting economic growth, investing in women has multiplier effects; women plow a large portion of their income in their families and communities. Women play crucial role in creating peaceful and stable societies which are important factors for economic growth. Regrettably, even these benefits have been universally recognized and have therefore not translated into women’s full economic participation, especially in Africa, where women still face obstacles when establishing new businesses or even increasing existing ones. Among the biggest obstacles are discriminatory laws, regulations and business conditions, with women’s lack of access to property rights, finance, training, technology, markets, mentors, and networks. We can only imagine one of the reasons behind the lack of economic development of Africa when half of the population is discriminated from full participation in the economic level.
Although there has been current focus on developing women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, this spotlight has been on growth-oriented women’s businesses. Women’s entrepreneurship in micro and small business that are often measured as informal, regardless of these concentrated efforts of poverty reduction initiatives through increased access to skills training and micro-credit, still have not been able to reach the growth potential among women.
The role of women in African economies is more emphasized in recent years by ensuring gender equality and women empowerment among Africans. But the fact is that women have less access to resources, education and health facilities in most of the African countries, where women are half the workforce. Greater participation of women in economic activities is the major concern of most of the countries in Africa, which is considered as one of the best tools to achieve and attain a sustain development in Africa. Africa cannot manage to attain a development if half of its population is discriminated and ignored from local and national policies.
African governments need to show more financial aid to support efforts to increase women’s access to quality financial services; there is an urge need to highlight women’s crucial role in advancing agricultural development and food security, and encourage policy and programmatic support for female farmers and agricultural businesses owned by women, and reform the policy to facilitating the processes for women in this field.
More support to NGOs, industry associations, and corporations advocating for policy and programmatic solutions that would enable women’s economic participation, also enhance more technology Access and providing access to mobile phones, Internet, and other vital technologies along with addressing cultural, financial, educational barriers…
Provide capacity building, trainings, and mentoring programs to women and girls and equip them with market information, entrepreneurship opportunities, and the necessary skills to attain economic independence; and Encourage best practices to increase women’s leadership in the sector of business and entrepreneurship;
Government states need to find a solution to one of the biggest obstacles in Africa which is Data Collection; endorse the collection and configuration of gender data in the economic sector to create evidence-based policy and programs aimed at increasing women’s economic participation across all sectors.
If women’s entrepreneurship was not only a female Agenda, Africa would be different.