Women and Equitable Growth in a Resource-Constrained World

Unleashing Capital for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

This paper addresses the need to reform the international development finance architecture in ways that expand access to affordable credit for women entrepreneurs in the Global South at a time of many loud and competing demands for funds and attention. In laying out an evidence-based pathway, it emphasizes the importance of linking macro-level resource mobilization to effective deployment at the micro level. 

In arguing for increased access to affordable productive capital and economic participation for women, the paper focuses particularly on sub-Saharan Africa due to its urgent need for growth and relatively high female labor force participation (including high levels of entrepreneurship), coupled with low credit availability.

Despite their high levels of economic activity, African women often work in informal microenterprises, facing income instability and inferior credit terms compared with men. This white paper advocates for credit as a cost-effective development tool that supports women in building resilience against economic shocks, managing cash flows, and expanding their businesses, leading to a reduction in poverty and increased economic growth.