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New on Our Knowledge Center: Profiting from Parity

Published on April 22, 2019

Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Businesses in Africa proposes a menu of evidence-based solutions to address wide gender gaps in the performance and profitability of firms in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on rich survey data from several Sub-Saharan African countries, the World Bank finds that female entrepreneurs consistently lag men on several key indicators of business performance. Monthly profits and sales from female-owned firms are on average 34 percent and 38 percent lower, respectively, than those from male-owned firms. Bridging these business performance gaps is especially critical for African economies, where women are more likely to be self-employed - often out of economic necessity - than to engage in wage work and are more likely to be entrepreneurs than men. As many countries seek to address the twin challenges of economic growth and job creation, empowering female entrepreneurs to serve as agents of economic opportunity could help the region fulfill its need for high quality employment—particularly in the context of widespread unemployment and growing youth populations.

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