The Second Lady, Samira Bawumia has called on African governments to initiate policies and programmes to support women entrepreneurs and the growth of their businesses.
According to her, lack of access to finance, legal discrimination and socio-cultural beliefs continued to militate against women entrepreneurs on the continent, thus thwarting the growth of their businesses.
Mrs Bawumia made the call in Accra on Wednesday at the launch of the World Bank report on women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan African titled “Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Businesses in Africa.”
The flagship report which is a joint production of the World Bank’s Africa Region Gender and Innovation Lab and the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, highlights challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and proffer solutions to address them.
The report mentioned legal barriers, lack of access to finance and socio-cultural beliefs as some of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The World Bank also launched a programme to quarterly meet Civil Society Organisations to deliberate on its implementation of the Human Capital Index which among, others, is aimed at increasing investment in human capital, human capital sensitive projects and services and support better policies for advancing human development.
The Second Lady said entrepreneurship was crucial for job creation and the growth of the continent.
She said women entrepreneurs constitute about 42 per cent of the continent’s population, the highest in the world, and needed to be empowered to grow their businesses.
The Second Lady explained that women entrepreneurs, who were economically empowered, stood the chance of better catering for their families.
Mrs Bawumia said government was committed to supporting women entrepreneurs in the country, pointing out that the Ministry of Women and Business Development had allocated GHȻ10 million to support Women Entrepreneurs in the country.
The Second Lady advised women to take the “position of influence” and tap “opportunities” that come their way.
The World Bank Group Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem in his remark called for policies to support women entrepreneurs.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection in her marks said her Ministry was focusing on developing the human capital of both boys and girls in order to “leave no one behind.”
She encouraged women to desist from spending lavishly on phones, shoes and bags and save their monies for investment in businesses to become entrepreneurs.
The Minister pledged her Ministry’s commitment to continue to mentor girls to create their own businesses instead of becoming job seekers.
He also stressed the need for Africa to improve its position on the Human Capital Index, saying Africa was doing poorly among other continents.
Dr Ghanem attributed Africa’s poor ranking on the World Human Capital Index to stunting, lack of empowerment of girls and early child marriage.
He said though Ghana was doing better on the Human Capital Index relative to the West African countries, there was the need for the country to do more to compete with its international peers.
The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Henry Kerali called for policies to create equal opportunities for both boys and girls.
By Kingsley Asare