Women economic empowerment key for Africa’s development: World Bank official

When women are economically empowered, they bring more benefits to society than the case with men, said World Bank’s practice manager for competitiveness, and innovation global practice on Saturday.

Providing equal access to financial services, and helping women have more power can help accelerate progress in women’s economic empowerment file, especially in developing countries.

“When women are economically empowered, they bring more benefits to society than when men are economically empowered.” Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa said at the Youth Entrepreneurs Day event, part of Africa 2018 Forum taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Women in Africa have been called “a powerful untapped economic force” and fundamentally integral in addressing the development challenges Africa faces.

Currently, African women constitute the majority of workers in the informal economy, and only around a third of women across the continent take part in formal economic activity. For instance, women’s formal ownership of small and medium-sized businesses stands at around a third of all registered SMEs in Africa. Women-owned SMEs are more likely to have lower sales and annual turnover, less employees, and smaller size than those enterprises owned by men.

Cultural and social norms are often not supportive of women’s involvement in business, and many aspiring African female entrepreneurs lack access to supportive networks and mentors as well as negotiating power within their households and local communities.