Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Hajia Samira Bawumia, has alluded to the fact that women entrepreneurs have serious challenges as far as accessing capital and other economic resources for startup businesses is concerned.
Citing a World Bank report, the Second Lady said, only 47% of women globally have access to formal financial institutions and saving mechanisms; making access to credit a critical challenge for women in business.
This according to her, is due to a number of reasons including lower levels of education and financial literacy, lower income levels, lack of tangible assets or collateral, legal constraints, time and mobility constraints, socio-cultural constraints, and a lack of market exposure among others.
Giving the keynote address at the just ended Women Entrepreneurship Conference in Accra, Mrs. Bawumia noted that these challenges are not insurmountable and efforts are being made by the government to address some of the problems in the short, medium and long-term.
It is a well-known fact that women are very active participants in the growth of economies across sub-Saharan Africa. There is considerable evidence that most businesses in Africa are owned and ran by women, but these businesses are more likely to be small-scale enterprises in the informal sector. Women engage in low-value-added activities that only reap marginal benefits, primarily because they are entrepreneurs out of necessity and not of opportunity, she said.
About 80% of women in Ghana are engaged in various economic activities, and predominantly operate in the small to medium scale sectors of the economy. The Ghana Statistical Service estimates that women make up 50.5% of the labour force. The Statistical Service further reports in the Ghana Living Standards Survey (2014) that the formal sector employs about 6.2% of women; 3.3% in the public sector and 2.9% in the private sector, she added.
According to the Second Lady, there are many studies that have shown that investing in women has a multiplier effect, hence the need to focus on the contributions women make towards the acceleration of our economic development and inclusive growth.
Women face great challenges and have to grapple with the many constraints in raising funds and mobilizing revenues that set them back in the pursuit of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, she stressed.
The Women Entrepreneurship Conference is held to recognize the contribution of women to the socioeconomic development of the country and to bring to the fore the contribution of Ghanaian women entrepreneurs in line with the vision of President Akufo-Addo.
The conference which was organised by the Ministry of Business Development was on the theme Unleashing Women Entrepreneurship for Inclusive Growth.