Top 10 most gender-equal countries in Sub-Saharan Africa - Report

Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the world’s highest rate of women entrepreneurs, at 27%.
  • Namibia is the most gender-equal country in Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Of the 35 countries in this region, only Namibia and Rwanda have closed at least 80% of their gaps.
  • According to the report, it will take 121.7 years for women in Sub-Saharan Africa to have the same economic opportunities as men.

The World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap Report 2021, and it’s good news for Namibia, Rwanda, and Togo — all three have improved their rankings since 2020.

The report looks at 153 countries and their progress towards gender parity based on four key areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

Data from the report showed that the overall gender gap in Sub-Saharan Africa is 32.7%, as only 67.2% of the gap has been closed so far. Progress seems stalled, even slightly reversed, such that it will take 121.7 years to close the gender gap.

According to the report, here are the top 10 most gender-equal countries in Sub-Saharan Africa closing the gender gap as we enter into the new decade:

  1. Namibia
  2. Rwanda
  3. South Africa
  4. Burundi
  5. Mozambique
  6. Zimbabwe
  7. Zambia
  8. Madagascar
  9. Uganda
  10. Cape Verde

Namibia ranked 6th globally after having closed its overall gender gap by almost 2.5 percentage points in one year to achieve a score of 80.9%. Namibia had already closed its Health and Survival gap by 98% and 100% of its Educational Attainment gender gap, with twice as many women as men enrolled in tertiary education.

Rwanda, ranked 7th globally, also closed 80.5% of its overall gender gap, the highest among Sub-Saharan African countries. The share of women in senior and managerial roles has doubled since the previous edition (from 14.1% to 28.6%). In addition, women now participate in the labour force more than men (84.4%), and wage equality is progressing at a fast pace (80.9%) gap close

Regarding Educational Attainment, Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind the other regions, with only 84.5% of this gap closed to date. Although six countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius and Eswatini) have closed 99% of this gap, 8 countries have yet to close more than 20% of this gap. Gender disparities in education of over 30% remain in Guinea (68%), Congo, Dep Rep. (65.8%) and Chad (58.9%).

In some locations, women are still denied access to the same education levels as men. Namely, in Angola, Chad, Guinea, Nigeria and Pakistan, gender gaps in primary education enrolment are still as large as 15% or more. In Angola, for instance, 88.9% of boys are enrolled in primary education versus only 67% of girls, and in Nigeria, only 69.9% of boys and 58.1% of girls are in primary school.

On a more positive note, Sub-Saharan Africa has closed 66.1% of its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, the fifth-best result among the eight regions analysed in this report.

The best performer, Burundi (85.5%), is 38 percentage points ahead of the lowest-ranked country in the region (Mali, 47.5%). Notably, both Togo and Côte d’Ivoire have improved significantly this year. In both countries, the main driver of the improvement has been a significant increase in the number of women senior officials, as gender parity in senior roles have progressed by 57 percentage points in Togo and 80 percentage points in Côte d’Ivoire.

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