TOPIC: Why are Africa’s female entrepreneurs unable to play the export game? Evidence from Ghana
PRESENTER: Dr. Charles Ackah
DATE: TUESDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY 2020
VENUE: ISSER ANNEX ROOM 11
Using the Ghanaian ISSER-IGC panel, a survey of micro, small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises for 2011-2015, we explore how the underperformance of Africa’s female entrepreneurs can be explained by a male-female export gap, together with nine key business constraints. We find that female entrepreneurs are less likely to export and optimize their exports than their male peers. Importantly, we find that although access to finance is ranked more highly as a constraint by female entrepreneurs, this does not explain the difficulties they experience in optimizing exports. Consistent with related work, we find that constraints related to social and cultural norms, in particular concerning bribes and security, are especially important for females. This may hint at the exclusion of female entrepreneurs (voluntarily or involuntarily) from business networks or practices favored by their male peers.
Charles Ackah is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at the University of Ghana. He is a development economist with research interests in the effects of trade policy and globalization on poverty and inequality; entrepreneurship, enterprise development, and gender inequality. He is External Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Economic Development and International Trade (CREDIT) based in the School of Economics, University of Nottingham. He has recently completed a cross-country firm-level comparative study of gender and enterprise development in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.