IFC Announces Data Collection Project in Africa

Friday 18th March 2011

IFC’S Women in Business Program aims at scaling up access to finance opportunities for women by providing advisory services and financing to financial institutions interested in profitably responding to the needs of the women’s market segment.

A key obstacle to the growth of small and medium scale enterprises (SMES) globally is the challenge in accessing capital for their businesses. This obstacle to growth seems to affect women owned SMEs even more as there is limited data and information regarding the business potential of women entrepreneurs. Current exciting data about women entrepreneurs is mostly based on microfinance, a very specific market segment which does not necessarily reflect how women entreprenurs behave in the SME market,where commercial banks typically focus. Recognizing the need to have clear data on the women owned SME sector, IFC’s Women in Business Program is initiating a Women owned SME’s access to finance Baseline data collection for the Africa Region.

1)To gather information about the SME market, with particular emphasis on Women owned SMEs in a minimum of 2 countries in the following regions (West Africa, East Africa, South Africa and Central Africa). Information to be gathered will include the size, nature, characteristics and financial needs of the SME sector in these countries.

2)To gather and analyze baseline data about the financial behavior and performance of women owned SMEs in the SME portfolio of IFCs client banks, with the aim of encouraging banks to recognize the business opportunity that women owned SMEs represent in their respective markets. The project will cover a minimum of 1 bank in select countries in West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and South Africa.