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Women continue to receive marginal share of funding in Africa

Monday, 11 March 2024 15:25
Women continue to receive marginal share of funding in Africa

(Ecofin Agency) - The report, released for International Women's Day, highlights a glaring lack of parity in financing access for startups, even in the modern world.

Women-led African startups received $209.3 million in funding between 2019 and 2023, according to a report issued on March 8 by TechCabal Insights.

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Entitled "Breaking Barriers: Female Pioneers in African Tech 2024," the report points out that this figure represents only 1.54% of the total amount of funding secured by startups operating across the continent during the period under review.

This demonstrates that the African tech ecosystem remains deeply misogynistic, despite significant successes achieved by women. The restricted access of women-led startups to funding primarily results from women's underrepresentation in the tech sector. Being a minority in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines and startup leadership positions, women are naturally less present during funding rounds.

Another factor could be the weak presence of women at the top levels of venture capital funds, which hold the keys to funding. Hard-to-eradicate gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, observed in Africa as elsewhere, also explains the venture capital industry's lukewarm interest in female entrepreneurship on the continent.


“The most important work that investors and stakeholders can do is to stop focusing on women as a group that needs to be helped, aided, or in some way considered incompetent...It doesn't matter if you're black, brown, male, female, purple, green, or anything else; if we just focused on performance metrics and removed all other distractions, it would be a lot more of an egalitarian and equitable investing, entrepreneurial, and hiring ecosystem,” stressed Maya Horgan Famodu, founder and CEO of Nigerian VC firm Ingressive Capital, quoted in the report.

“The professional environment and ecosystem are sometimes not tailored - some networking events take place in evenings when families are together or at locations where childcare services are not offered...gender diversity can be reached if the ecosystem (not only funders but also customers, suppliers, banks...) ensure that the gender-bias is not entrenched in their processes. The ecosystem should also develop more solutions or forums that cater to female entrepreneurs,” added Hannah Subayi Kamuanga, co-founder of the Congolese business angel network DRC Impact Angels.

Furthermore, the report reveals that the financial technology sector (fintech) has received the most funding among African tech startups led by women over the last five years, with $57.2 million or 27% of the total funding. Following are the education & employment sectors ($38.8 million), e-commerce ($33.4 million), health ($25.8 million), and agriculture & food ($20.2 million).

The distribution of funds raised by women-led African startups between 2019 and 2023 by country also highlights that Kenya leads with $92.6 million, ahead of Nigeria ($33.3 million), Tanzania ($28 million), and Egypt ($11.9 million). These four countries thus represent nearly 80% of the total amount raised across the continent.

Per sub-regions, East Africa leads with 68.1% of the funding, followed by West Africa (19%), North Africa (6.9%), Southern Africa (5.3%), and Central Africa (0.7%).



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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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