Gender and Enterprise Development in Africa: A Cross-Country Comparative Study

Women-owned enterprises tend to concentrate near the lower end of the productivity and growth scale in sub-Saharan Africa. This project will provide credible evidence to inform policies to address this challenge and to promote inclusive growth. Specifically, it will investigate the nature, role, and dynamics of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), along with their potential for enhancing growth and improving opportunities for poor women in the region.

The research will shed light on the challenge and how it can be addressed. Specifically, it will look at the potential for information and communication technologies to remove gender- based constraints and productivity gaps. It will also examine the types of policies and institutions that are effective in reducing gender-based barriers to entrepreneurship and enterprise growth. The growth question is particularly important in a region where women-owned enterprises are multiplying rapidly in numbers, but show little potential for growth.

Researchers will conduct a comparative analysis involving Ghana and two other countries to be selected through an open competition from Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia. The research team will produce in-depth country reports, a series of peer-reviewed articles, issues papers, policy briefs, and a cross-country synthesis report. The work produced will:
-provide a solid understanding of the factors that support productivity and growth of micro and small enterprises;
-establish the pathways to firms becoming vibrant mid-sized entities in different country contexts;
-generate new knowledge on the differences, constraints, and performance gaps between male- and female-owned/managed MSMEs;
-identify the factors that contribute to these gaps and those with the potential to reduce gender-based barriers, including information and communication technologies;
-offer key insights into how policies and institutional arrangements, which guide the activities of organizations, shape innovation, productivity increases, and the market performance of MSMEs; and,
-establish whether and how policies and institutional arrangements may impact male and female entrepreneurs differently.

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), a leading think tank housed at the University of Ghana, will coordinate the project.

Project ID

107298

Project status

Active

Start Date

Monday, February 25, 2013

End Date

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Duration

24 months

IDRC Officer

Melesse, Martha

Total funding

CA$ 769,060

Country(s)

North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia

Project Leader

Charles G. Ackah

Institution

University of Ghana

Institution Country

Ghana

Institution Website

http://www.ug.edu.gh