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African women’s entrepreneurial efforts thwarted by discrimination – UN

African women’s entrepreneurial efforts thwarted by discrimination – UN

The rampant gender-based discrimination hampering African women’s success in business must be tackled through policy and programmes, according to a new study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The study, entitled “Lessons from Success Stories of African Women Entrepreneurs,” called for initiatives beyond microcredit schemes while pointing out that women continue manage businesses which generate employment and tax revenue despite limited government support, negative social environments, institutional discrimination and lasting gender inequalities.

If African nations are to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of targets aimed at slashing social ills such as poverty by 2015, governments need to address these issues, the report argued.

The study – based on the experiences of nine randomly selected women entrepreneurs in Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda – said that these women share the ability to take risk, creativity, extraversion, optimism and social skills.

None of the women said economic gain is the top indicator of success, but rather, success is comprised of honestly, reliability, hard work and the ability to spend more time with their families.

The findings of the report will be discussed at a two-day workshop which kicks off today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.