MEDays Forum – 2nd to 5th November 2022
THEME: “FROM CRISES TO CRISES: TOWARDS A NEW WORLD ORDER”
MEDays Session 4: Women Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Africa: Closing the Gap
Date and Time of the Session: Thursday, November 3rd 2022, 4:30 pm
Africa is the world leading continent in women’s entrepreneurship and has 24% of the world’s women entrepreneurs. Together, they contribute 7-9% of Africa’s GDP annually, or about $150-200 billion. Moreover, forecasts by various experts predict that the number of African women entrepreneurs will continue to rise in the coming years. However, African women entrepreneurs face difficulties in accessing finance, loans and training. In addition, they face poor infrastructure.
According to a PwC report, these aspects discourage international investors and may soon cause the waning of this entrepreneurial zeal. It is necessary to capitalize on the dynamism of women’s leadership in Africa. It is essential to strengthen African women entrepreneurs in view of the strong potential of social emancipation that entrepreneurship presents. In this sense, it is necessary to simplify the obtaining of loans to finance their projects and to support them in their search for investors while facilitating their access to training.
– In the strive for freedom and independence, women have played extremely important roles in resisting colonial powers. A few examples:
i. Ghana → Nana Yaa Asantewaa led the Ashanti resistance against the British;
ii. Egypt → Queen Hatshepsut 21-year reign was noted as a period of peace and prosperity;
iii. Angola → Queen Nzinga forged strategic alliances and was tenacious in resisting Portugal’s colonial aspirations
iv. Nigeria → Queen Amina of Zazzau of Kaduna demonstrated excellent leadership and governance throughout the expansion of her kingdom through conquest
v. Ethiopia → Empress Taytu Betul, fought in the famous battle of Adwa, which is considered as the most important victory of an African army in resisting colonial domination
but since the beginning of the 90s up until today, more women across the continent have served in the executive arm of government as Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers of State, and in the legislature. Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was, in July 2012, elected Chairperson of the African Union (AU). She was the first woman to lead the Organisation of African Unity, which is the AU predecessor, or the AU itself.
Although there has been progress, more work needs to be done, which includes:
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