Supporting Growth-oriented Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Kenya & Tanzania

Assessing the supportive environment for women entrepreneurs
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This paper presents efforts of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Labour Office (ILO) to promote enterprise creation and growth by women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

African women entrepreneurs are playing an increasing role in diversifying production and services in Africa economies. Fostering women’s entrepreneurship development is crucial for the achievement of Africa’s broader development objectives. The paper examines the state of women’s enterprise in Africa, and identifies policy and program measures to support them. Constraints such as political instability, poor infrastructure, high production costs, and non-conducive business environment, tend to impact more on businesswomen than businessmen. The paper recommends:

  • Appropriate actions designed to address cultural, financial, business support, education and training, networking, regulatory, and infrastructure barriers;
  • Establishment of new structures such as Women’s Enterprise Centers, and expansion of the existing capacity to advice growth-oriented women;
  • More strategic interaction between donors, governments and other stakeholders to tackle issues on a collaborative basis;
  • Efforts to raise the bar on women’s enterprise by improving their access to education, informing them of their rights, effecting changes in cultural practices, and developing strategies to empower them.