Women Enterpreneurs Vital for African Development: ADB, ILO

Friday, December 2, 2005

Fostering women entrepreneurship in Africa is crucial for the development of the continent, the African Development Bank said on Wednesday.

At a workshop organized by International Labor Organization (ILO) and African Development Bank (ADB) Pierre Thizier Seya, Resident Representative of ADB country office in Ethiopia, said: “Fostering women entrepreneurship development is crucial for the achievement of Africa’s broader objective, including poverty reduction and economic and social development.” A report entitled Support for Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia was launched at the workshop.

Seya said on the occasion that there was increased role of women in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMES) in the country. However, he added that women were facing major constraints in establishing and running businesses.

“If we need to become a more competitive and dynamic economy we need more entrepreneurs. And we definitely need more dynamic women entrepreneurs.” To improve the situation, he expressed his belief that there should be a center aimed at accelerating and facilitating the process of entrepreneurial learning among African women.

“Whether this entails promoting role models, apprenticeships, networking and associative capacity or a combination of approaches, it is clear that women must use strategies that accelerate the pace of their learning about business and that allow them to build strategic partnerships and alliances within their business community,” Seya said.

Gerry Finnegan, a senior specialist in Women’s Entrepreneurship Development from the International Labor Organization (ILO) also said that ILO in collaboration with ADB has a strategic partnership and intends to carry out assessment of the enabling environment for Growth-oriented Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Finnegan said the assessment provides a greater understanding of the factors in the business environment that limit or enhance growth among women entrepreneurs.” “The ILO commissioned a series of studies in the situation and status of women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia.” “It also shed new light on women’s business performance, and on their plans and aspirations relation to the growth of their enterprises.”

Source: The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa), Yonas Abiye (link opens in a new window)