African Business Woman on coffee break at her office.
The third edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has listed three African countries as global leaders in terms of women-owned businesses. Uganda, Ghana and Botswana are ranked as the top three countries with the highest percentages of women-owned businesses across the 58 markets evaluated around the world.

Based on publicly available data from international organizations including the International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the global Index tracks the progress and achievements of women entrepreneurs and business owners at three levels: (i) Women’s Advancement Outcomes, (ii) Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and (iii) Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.

The results reaffirmed that women are able to make further business inroads and have higher labour force participation rates in open and vibrant markets where the support for SMEs and ease of doing business are high. They are also able to draw from enabling resources, including access to capital, financial services and academic programs.

Although the available support in open markets is a significant indicator of success, the Index also revealed that it is not the only consideration. Despite traditionally featuring less favourable conditions, five of the eight African countries evaluated in this Index made it into the top 10 markets leading in women business ownerships. These “driven-by-necessity” entrepreneurs are determined to succeed despite a lack of financial capital and access to enabling services.

Beatrice Cornacchia, Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communications for the Middle East and Africa, said: “Women entrepreneurs continue to have a direct impact on economic growth and the wellbeing of society. In sub-Saharan Africa in particular, women continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to supporting their communities through entrepreneurship.

But to unlock the full potential of the African continent, we must continue to foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem for women that helps them to overcome barriers – whether cultural, legal, social or traditional.”

Voltic Togo