Press Releases
print

IFC-World Bank Report Promotes Reforms for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Africa


In Washington, D.C.:
Rebecca Ong +1 (202) 458 0434
E-mail:
rong@worldbank.org


Washington, D.C., April 11, 2008—The World Bank Group today released a new report that focuses on women entrepreneurship in Africa. Doing Business: Women in Africa is a joint effort between the IFC-World Bank Doing Business project and the World Bank’s Gender Action Plan, which was launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 2007.  

The report is the first in a series of regional studies. It focuses on women entrepreneurs from Cameroon, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda.  It looks in depth at individual businesswomen who have faced legal and regulatory obstacles in each of these countries.


“This groundbreaking report is part of a gender research initiative that identifies the legal and regulatory barriers facing businesswomen in 181 countries. It highlights reforms that can level the playing field for women and create a better business environment, benefiting both women and men,” said Simeon Djankov, IFC-World Bank Chief Economist for Financial and Private Sector Development and founder of the Doing Business project.


"I am absolutely convinced that the political and economic empowerment of women is not only smart economics but also an essential contribution to the realization of human rights and to enhancing the effectiveness of aid. Imagine where Africa could be if African women were truly enabled to unleash their full potential," said German Minister of Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.


The report presents case studies of women entrepreneurs who face regulatory obstacles in creating and growing their businesses. Regulations often aim at protecting women but instead force them into the informal sector, with limited job security and fewer social benefits. In Swaziland, for example, a woman can open a bank account or take out a loan only with the consent of her husband or a male relative: not surprisingly, just 30 percent of Swazi women have bank accounts, versus 52 percent of men. Women are three times more likely than men to be hired informally, and lack of mobility can also constrain their economic opportunities.


The Doing Business gender research analyzes laws and regulations in 181 countries across seven indicators: starting a business, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, and enforcing contracts. Data on civil codes and laws is also being compiled to study the impact on women’s ability to operate in business. To access the report, visit
www.doingbusiness.org/womenentrepreneurs.



 Doing Business: Women in Africa

Report Highlights


The World Bank Gender Action Plan and the Doing Business project published a new report on April 11, 2008, celebrating women entrepreneurship in Africa – the first in a series of regional reports. Here are highlights of the countries and the women featured in the report.

Cameroon
Kah Walla established a management consulting firm called STRATEGIES in Cameroon that has an annual turnover of $500,000, employs 15 workers, and has business reach throughout Africa, Europe, and the United States. For Walla, and most women in Cameroon, paying taxes is an obstacle.
Doing Business rank: 154 out of 178 economies
Paying taxes rank: 166 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 59.8%
Women in labor force: 40%
Women in parliament: 8.9%
Gender equity index: 137 out of 154 economies*

Rwanda
Janet Nkubana founded the handicrafts company Gahaya Links in Rwanda, which has an annual turnover of $300,000, over 3,000 employees, and a business reach spanning Africa and the United States. Nkubana’s obstacle to doing business in Rwanda was trading across borders.
Doing Business rank: 150 out of 178 economies
Trade across borders rank: 166 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 59.8%
Women in labor force: 51%
Women in parliament: 45.3%
Gender equity index: 3 out of 154 economies

Senegal
Aissa Dionne started the interior design company called Aissa Dione Tissus in Senegal that today has an annual turnover of $700,000, over 100 employees, and a business reach from Africa to Europe and the United States. Dionne’s obstacle to doing business in Senegal was employing workers.
Doing Business rank: 162 out of 178 economies
Employing workers rank: 160 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 29.2%
Women in labor force: 42%
Women in parliament: 19.2%
Gender equity index: 104 out of 154 economies

South Africa

Sibongile Sambo founded SRS Aviation Ltd., an aviation services company in South Africa that has an annual turnover of $5 million and 9 employees with a global business reach. Sambo’s obstacle to doing business in South Africa was getting credit.
Doing Business rank: 35 out of 178 economies
Getting credit rank: 76 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 80.9%
Women in labor force: 38%
Women in parliament: 32.8%
Gender equity index: 42 out of 154 economies

Swaziland
Zoe Dean-Smith began a homeware company in Swaziland called Gone Rural Pty Ltd. with an annual turnover of $600,000, about 730 employees, and a business reach spanning Africa, Europe, and the United States. Dean-Smith’s main obstacle was registering property.
Doing Business rank: 95 out of 178 economies
Registering property rank: 142 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 78.3%
Women in labor force: 33%
Women in parliament: 16.8%
Gender equity index: 125 out of 154 economies

Tanzania
Dr. Victoria Ksyombe started Sero Lease and Finance Ltd, a financial services company in Tanzania. It has an annual turnover of $6 million, an employee base of 60, and 12 branches across Tanzania, its. For Ksyombe, getting credit was an obstacle.
Doing Business rank: 130 out of 178 economies
Getting credit rank: 115 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 62.2%
Women in labor force: 50%
Women in parliament: 30.4%
Gender equity index: 35 out of 154 economies

Uganda
Julian Omalla established a juice manufacturing company in Uganda called Delight Ltd. that has an annual turnover of $3.9 million, 450 employees, and a business reach spanning Uganda and Sudan. For Omalla, difficulties in starting her business were an obstacle.
Doing Business rank: 118 out of 178 economies
Starting a business rank: 114 out of 178 economies
Female literacy rate: 59.8%
Women in labor force: 40%
Women in parliament: 29.8%
Gender equity index: 67 out of 154 economies

*Source: Social Watch Gender Equity Index 2007.