The report “Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women's Business in Africa” was produced jointly by the World Bank’s Africa Region Gender Innovation Lab and the Finance Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice in March 2019.
In Africa, the performance of female-owned businesses consistently lags behind that of male-owned businesses. They have fewer employees, lower average sales, and less value-added. Drawing on survey data from 14 countries, this report finds wide gaps in average profits between male- and female-owned firms.
Advancing gender equality is smart economics, sound business practice, and essential development policy. When women and men have equal opportunities to shape their own lives and contribute to their families, communities, and countries, it leads to enhanced productivity, improved development outcomes, and better performance by businesses and institutions.
The countries in sub-Saharan Africa have already made significant progress in fostering the economic empowerment of women and girls. Women in Africa are more likely to be working than women in other regions, and almost 50 per cent of women in the non-agricultural labour force are entrepreneurs. It is the only region in which women are more likely to be entrepreneurs than men.
The report is based on new data generated from an in-depth analysis of three constraints: Do gender-biased social norms dampen business performance, do gender differences in entrepreneurial networks fuel the gender performance gap, and do intra-household relationships affect the strategic choices made by female entrepreneurs?
Download the report “Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women's Business in Africa”