‘Female entrepreneurship on the rise in Africa’

In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of business was carried out by women, it said. Despite this significant contribution to the national economy, CDE said, those taking on larger companies were still few. “Although most of the barriers to enterprise development are not linked to gender, women are hampered by the issue of credibility when starting a business,” CDE said. “Once on the right track, however, they are just as successful as their male colleagues.” Female business managers needed to stand up to the challenge and be more assertive when facing their bank manager so as to secure loans. Women managers rarely had time to develop business-related networks within professional associations as they had to combine their professional life with running a home, it said. CDE said their criteria for success were linked to both their activities and their family, but their mobility was restricted by the contrast of the latter. “They often lack self-confidence and easily become disconcerted by male sarcasm, especially when they are just starting out,” it said. A number of national and international initiatives have been put in place to help female entrepreneurs. The World Association of Women Entrepreneurs enables them to meet their peers on a global scale and to form partnerships. The CDE said associations bringing together female business managers were being set up at the local level while professional associations now understood they had to absorb women entrepreneurs. The CDE is an organ of the ACP states and the EU in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement. It forms part of the general system of support the European Commission created for promoting the private sector and thus helping to combat poverty. ‘ New Ziana.

June 2006
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