Uganda, Botswana and Ghana are the world’s top 3 economies with the most female entrepreneurs

An Africa woman selling fabrics in a market
  • Botswana leads, followed by Uganda and Ghana, as the countries with the most women business owners globally.
  • The research indicates women entrepreneurs in Africa are resilient and adaptable.

The 2021 Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has, for the third consecutive year, ranked Botswana (38.5%), Uganda (38.4%) and Ghana (37.2%) as the countries with the most women business owners globally.

The Index’s benchmark indicator is calculated as a percentage of total business owners. This is the fifth edition of the MIWE, which puts the spotlight on the significant socio-economic contribution of women entrepreneurs around the world, including Africa, and provides insights on the factors driving and inhibiting their advancement.

In many African countries, women’s advancement is hampered by less supportive entrepreneurial conditions, a lack of funding, less opportunities for higher-level education, as well as structural barriers.

Botswana, however, scores in the top 15 economies globally in terms of advancement outcomes for women, particularly as far as performance by income is concerned, out-performing high-income and developed economies such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia. Botswana also scores highly in MIWE 2021’s ‘women’s labour force participation rates’, ranking 13th globally.

Nigeria ties Angola, and Ghana in top women’s Entrepreneurial activity globally

According to the report, Nigeria, alongside Angola and Ghana, ranked first globally in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Activity Rate in MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) 2021.

Nigeria also ranked second globally for the number of ‘women professional and technical workers’ at 59.1 per cent, while Angola ranked second globally in hiring intentions with 16.4 per cent of adults planning to employ six or more people in the next.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and economic downturn, Mastercard’s research indicates that women entrepreneurs in Africa are resilient and adaptable, particularly those in low and middle-income economies, often surpassing men in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

Ebehijie Momoh, Country Manager and Area Business Head for West Africa at MasterCard, congratulated the African countries for their entrepreneurial and SME activities efforts.

He added that “women in Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola stand out as excellent examples of women’s determination to provide for themselves and their families, despite facing financial, regulatory and technical challenges. In these economies, women are able to leverage on opportunities in their respective environments to be business owners, leaders and professional or technical workers.”

As part of Mastercard’s commitment to creating a world where women entrepreneurs are equally represented and supported, the company made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025. Not only will empowering women’s entrepreneurship act as a catalyst for growth and innovation, but it will raise up the communities around successful women and fuel a global recovery that is more equitable and sustainable for everyone.

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