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Women of Africa: a powerful untapped economic force - EY - South Africa

Women of Africa: a powerful untapped economic force

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"So often, it takes only one woman to make a difference. If you empower that woman with information, and training, or a microloan, she can lift up her entire family and contribute to the success of her community." Condoleezza Rice, Former US Secretary of State

Women make up just over 50% of Africa's growing population and their under-representation in social, political and economic spheres must be addressed if Africa is to leverage fully its promise and potential.

Africa is on the cusp of a period of significant economic development. Over the past two decades improved regulatory reform, political stability and governance have led to increased investor confidence resulting in six African economies featuring amongst the 10 fastest growing economies in the world between 2001 and 2010.

The Africa growth story is an exciting one. While it is beyond doubt an exceptional time to be doing business in Africa, there are hurdles to overcome. In particular, this growth and turnaround will not be fully leveraged and sustained if the full human potential of Africa remains underutilized.

Africa needs to harness the power of one of its strongest assets, its growing population, especially women to drive full economic growth and social development.

The women of Africa are an important contributor to the African growth story. The challenges for African women are twofold:

  • For those involved in informal economic activities, the challenge is to create access to more formal economic participation.
  • For those who are educated and working in the formal sector, the challenge is to move up the corporate ladder.

We need to harness the power of Africa's women to drive economic growth and social development in Africa.

In this report, we further explore this issue across the following topics:

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