The Women Behind Ghana's Economic Growth


Ghana in recent times has been ranked highest globally as the country producing the most female entrepreneurs, with an estimation of about 46.4% according to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship (MIWE). The rising figures of female entrepreneurs are propelling business innovation in emerging markets. This shows that the entrepreneurial activities of women are the anchors of economic growth and development in the country.  Despite the existence of challenges, women in Ghana are overcoming hindrances and thriving in their various ventures.

The increase of women in entrepreneurship has contributed tremendously to the economic development of Ghana.  Ghana was recently rated the fastest growing economy in the world according to the latest report of the International Monetary Funds, with a predicted growth of 8.8 percent for 2019. Apart from a dominating oil sector, this growth was also propelled by thriving agriculture and manufacturing sectors in which women play an active role.  Women entrepreneurs continue to strive hard, despite numerous disadvantages such as lack of capital and unfavourable working conditions. It has been discovered that in Africa, women entrepreneurs have a harder time securing credit and funding than their male counterparts.  In fact, research has shown that despite women having high credit scores, domestic commercial banks do not have programs targeted at women business owners. Some 80% of women who own small/micro scale business ventures have a hard time getting credit.

Women are an important part of Ghana’s agricultural sector (Image source: World Bank)

Women are an important part of Ghana’s agricultural sector (Image source: World Bank)

According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, women in Ghana own almost half of all businesses in the country. A study made by the World Bank estimates that most businesses ventures  in Ghana—or some 70% of employers—fall within the categories of “micro,” “small” and “medium” enterprises. The difficulty for women, hence, is developing their business beyond small/medium scale enterprises. This shows that women turn to essential driven entrepreneurial activities in order to survive and support their families.

Generally, one of the effective ways  of reducing poverty and propelling economic growth is through promoting entrepreneurship and female empowerment. With a significant number of women in Ghana starting or operating their own small or medium scale businesses, this would decrease the pressure on the government to create poverty alleviation programs, as well as to create jobs, since women represent 51% of the labour force in the country. Empirical analysis of the gender and economic growth nexus for Ghana suggests that programs which increase female literacy could produce an increase in real output growth by about one-half.  Women have the potential to create businesses that grow into dynamic enterprises capable of contributing to the economic development of the country. It is therefore essential that the government, international organizations, and investors support the activities of these women to help transition these businesses into larger enterprises.