Working Paper

Africa’s Businesswomen – Underfunded or Underperforming?


  • Charles Ackah
  • Holger Görg
  • Aoife Hanley
  • Cecília Hornok
Publication Date

While the recent success of Africa’s ‘Lionesses’ – successful female entrepreneurs - is internationally celebrated, less is known about how liquidity can fuel the success of the ‘Lionesses’ and other businesswomen. Using information from a panel of over 800 male- and female-owned businesses in Ghana (ISSER-IGC survey), we capture a measure of underfunding, in addition to data on supplier credit, equity and other finance sources. Our regressions reveal a female-to-male productivity gap of between -11 to -19 percent, values similar to estimates for other African countries. However, when the relationship between gender and productivity is mediated by financial constraints, the gender performance gap disappears. Accordingly, female business-owners who indicate that funding is not a problem, are associated with higher productivity than males, all things equal. In a finding new to the literature, our regressions reveal the importance of supplier credit for Africa’s businesswomen.


JEL Classification
D22; J16; L26

Key Words

  • Africa
  • female-owned businesses
  • Ghana
  • liquidity
  • productivity
  • supplier credit