Expanding women’s access to capital

Women in Africa are more likely to be working than women in other regions, and almost 50% of women in the non-agricultural labor force are entrepreneurs. It is the only region in which women are more likely to be entrepreneurs than men.

Africa has the highest share of female enterprises in the world at 26%, but women entrepreneurs are more likely to own or work in informal microenterprises. The unpredictable nature of these livelihoods means their income streams are lower and less consistent than for their male counterparts. It also means they are invisible to most formal lenders and can’t secure the capital they need to grow a business, hindering their ability to increase their incomes and create additional jobs in their communities. 

Across Kenya and Nigeria, women shared that the biggest barrier standing in the way of realizing their economic ambitions was lack of access to capital or other resources.

Expanding women’s access to capital
Percent of 103,269 women surveyed in Kenya noted that their biggest economic ambition was to own or expand business.
Percent of 102,758 women surveyed in Nigeria noted that their biggest economic ambition was to own or expand business.
See more data from The World Bank

If more women had access to capital to open or expand their own businesses, they would be able to weather economic or personal shocks and build resilience, reducing poverty and driving economic growth. Closing the gender gap in employment and entrepreneurship could raise the global gross domestic product by more than 20 percent.

Eliminating the gender gap over the next decade would essentially double the current global growth rate. Promoting women’s financial inclusion by closing the gender financing gap could add US$1.1 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Closing gender gaps is not just good for women entrepreneurs, but for entire communities and countries.  

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