Countries in Africa are not meeting the demands required to make business environment conducive for female entrepreneurs, Dell yesterday stated, as results of the second-annual Dell Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (2014 Gender-GEDI) which analysed 30 developed and developing countries were announced.

The report whose goal is to help guide leaders and policy makers in identifying weaknesses and developing strategies to advance female entrepreneurship indicated that 75 percent of the 30 countries surveyed globally do not meet the basic needs for female entrepreneurs to launch a successful business; signifying that there is still gender disparity between male and female entrepreneurs when it comes to accessing opportunities and launching a successful enterprise.

Access to capital, perception of opportunities, gender-dominated industries, views of women in executive roles as well as fundamental women rights were the five factors used to measure how favourable and welcoming it is for female entrepreneurs to establish a business in each country.

According to the Dell Index reports, about 50 percent or more of the female population in 14 of the 30 countries surveyed have no access to a formal bank account, posing a greater barrier to accessing funds to start a business.

On gender-dominated industries, the report says countries where there are stereotypical “male” jobs and “female” jobs are less helpful to female entrepreneurs as this does not only contribute to a wider gender gap but also “results in the concentration of women’s entrepreneurial activity within specific sectors, which can be detrimental to fully utilizing a nation’s capacity for innovation.”

However when it comes to the ability for women to identify opportunities of potential business, African women take the lead. The report says the prospect of identifying business opportunities among African females is as high as 69 percent compared to the numbers recorded for American and European women.

“Even with challenges around access to education and capital, female startup activity in the region is high at 86 female to every 100 male startups,” it says.

Nevertheless, the study shows that United States was the only country that plays the most supportive role for women as leaders and decision makers followed by Korea, Turkey, Japan and Pakistan.

The report therefore advocates for the need to have equal rights as men to allow them get ahead in business as study shows that women in 22 of the 30 countries surveyed have fewer rights compared to that of their spouse.

“Better gender rights and more women at top positions can improve the environment for female entrepreneurship,” it concluded.

Overall, United States was once again ranked the best place for female entrepreneur to establish a high growth business. It is followed by Australia, Sweden, France and Germany.

Of the countries considered, the least supportive for women entrepreneurs are India, Uganda, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

None of the African countries surveyed made the top ten rank in the 2014 Gender-GEDI rankings, but South Africa leads the pack for the continent with 11th position followed by Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Uganda and Egypt at 23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 positions respectively.

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