Global Perspectives | Salon | 21. June 2021

Strong Women – Strong Economies

Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Africa

In 1995 the Beijing Platform for Action resulted in a visionary and groundbreaking agenda on how to remove systemic barriers that hold women back from equal participation across all areas of life, including the economy. Twenty-six years later, however, no country is even close to delivering on the commitments made and the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to halt or reverse decades of collective effort. Thus, elevating gender equality on the agenda of national governments remains ever so important.

This year, the Generation Equality Forum, a global civil society event convened by UN Women, co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France and which will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2021, is using this notable anniversary as an opportunity to mobilize for equality and provoke transformative change around the globe.

Entrepreneurship is widely considered a unique source of both women’s empowerment and sustainable and resilient economic growth. Nowhere is this more evident than in our neighboring continent of Africa. The continent has embraced transformative technological change and is leading the way with innovation. According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurship worldwide and is the only region where the majority of entrepreneurs are women – with 27% of female adults engaged in entrepreneurial activity. Yet, despite their substantial economic contribution, female entrepreneurship remains an uphill struggle.

At this virtual event, we discussed the question of how we can tap into the full potential of women entrepreneurialism in Africa, with a focus on digital and creative businesses.

We had an exciting exchange with:

Speakers:

  • Anne-Marie Descôtes, French Ambassador to Germany
  • Dr Ingrid Hamm, Co-Founder and CEO Global Perspectives Initiative
  • Katherine Hay, Deputy Director, Gender Equality Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Pauline Koelbl, Founder & CEO AfriProspect GmbH and ShEquity Ltd
  • Angela Lungati, Co-Founder AkiraChix, Executive Director Ushahidi
  • Sherifah Tumusiime, CEO & Co-Founder Zimba Women

Moderation:

  • Sannssi Cissé, Head of Collaboration, GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation

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