new report funded by the African Development Bank has found that women-owned businesses in Africa are faring better than expected with relatively high levels of resilience despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Lionesses Business Confidence Report illuminates how COVID-19 is affecting Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs and how their businesses are performing relative to their expectations.
According to the report, 59% of women entrepreneurs who participated in the survey indicated that the pandemic didn’t impact their businesses. In contrast, the report noted that a small minority (5%) said they expect a recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023 or beyond.
Another fascinating insight from the report showed that women entrepreneurs overwhelmingly reported using retained earnings, personal capital, and funds from family and friends to finance their business operations to weather the impact of COVID-19. This implied that they financed their companies’ activities through 2020 and into first-quarter 2021 largely by tapping internal sources of financing.
Commenting on the report, Dr. Beth Dunford, the Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said in the report’s foreword, “The Lionesses Business Confidence Report comes at an opportune time. The report gives voice through data to the extraordinary African women entrepreneur role models who serve as an inspiration to other African women business builders as they respond to the ongoing challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“The Lionesses Business Confidence Report provides a unique view of the African economy from the perspective of these leading women entrepreneurs,” said Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken. “The report illuminates how these women-led businesses performed through the height of the pandemic, their performance against expectations, and their current response to its ongoing impact. The report makes for insightful and encouraging reading,” she added.
The report concluded that women entrepreneurs regard digital transformation to be essential to their company, with 91% reporting it as “important” or “very important.” Based on the survey, two-thirds (68%) have confidence in their companies’ current digital capabilities. However, the majority (88%) report plans to increase spending on digital technology.