Women Entrepreneurs dominate Digital Business in Africa – Research


A new study conducted by MasterCard has shown that women entrepreneurs across the world and in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are leading the way in tapping into the power of the digital economy to succeed and grow.

This is despite the gender gap and social challenges they face especially in the pandemic.

According to the  research by MasterCard, women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) believe there are huge benefits of a cash-free economy to their businesses.

The inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index report indicated that, 81 percent of the region’s women entrepreneurs have a digital presence for their businesses, compared to 68 percent of male-owned businesses.

In terms of the digital footprint of the region’s women entrepreneurs, social media (71 percent) leads the way, followed by a company website (57 percent). In the Middle East and North Africa, more women entrepreneurs had a website (71 percent) than a social media presence (55 percent).

The findings are aligned with Mastercard’s global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025, as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.


Access to Funds

Executive Vice President, Market Development, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard, Amnah Ajmal, said the Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index revealed that over 80 percent of women entrepreneurs have digital readiness for their business compared to their male counterparts but yet so few have access to funding for their business growth.

Globally, women-owned businesses are well represented in the entrepreneurship space, yet it is estimated that they only access between two and 10 per cent of commercial bank finance. This reflects the huge potential SME women entrepreneurs have when we accelerate their access to financial and digital tools which will enable greater gender parity in the business ecosystem,” he stated.

According to the Mastercard survey, confidence levels around digital transactions are high with 30 per cent of women entrepreneurs in MEA experiencing no challenges in accepting more payments digitally versus cash payments-especially mobile payments (62 per cent), online payments (57 per cent) and card payments (45 per cent).

In Southern Africa, this confidence is further elevated with two-thirds (67 per cent) seeing no challenges to accepting more payments digitally.

Growing confidence levels in digital as a business imperative is tied to a deeper understanding and wider recognition among SMEs of the advantages that result from a growing digital economy. When asked about the biggest benefits of a cash-free economy to their businesses, women entrepreneurs highlighted the increased efficiency of transactions across multiple channels (60 per cent) and the ease of not handling or processing cash (60 per cent).

They also appreciated having a more convenient way of paying suppliers and employees (59 per cent), faster access to revenues (55 per cent), less potential for fraud (53 per cent) and access to new business growth opportunities (50 per cent).



Guardian/Hauwa Abu

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: