Oleado Osoka, CEO Ghana Daystar Power ©Oleado Osoka

Oleado Osoka, CEO Ghana Daystar Power ©Oleado Osoka

Successful Women in Africa - Entrepreneurs for Development

Women entrepreneurs can make an important contribution to economic development in Africa. In Ghana, for example, 46.4 percent of companies are in the hands of women. However, most of these companies are small one-woman companies, while only nine percent of all African start-ups are run by women. What can be done to better support women? We spoke with 27-year-old Oleado Osoka, CEO Ghana of the German/African energy supplier Daystar Power.

Ms Osoka, why do you think it is important to empower female entrepreneurs in Africa?

“The empowerment of female entrepreneurs is the better work for just and fair societies. Women are also an untapped resource on the continent. Statistics show that women spend about 90 percent of their income investing in education, health and nutrition of their family. This has great transformative impact. If you look at the statistics on entrepreneurs for example, one in every four women either runs or has started her own business. So, if we are looking to tackle some of the challenges that we see on development on the continent, we should be creating opportunities and empowering women.”

Development institutions are focusing on empowering women in developing countries. What kind of support do you think female entrepreneurs really need in order to be successful?

“I think traditionally, women have focused on capacity building, training and seminars. And that is helpful, and it has its place in empowering female entrepreneurs. But we now need to transition to creating opportunities for financing, for scaling their business. For instance, introducing female entrepreneurs to partners in other regions on the continent and perhaps even in Europe. So, training and capacity building is great, but we now need to evolve into creating access to finance.”

Background: Women’s Business Breakfast

Besides access to finance, the lack of networks is a challenge for female entrepreneurs. To overcome this hurdle, BDI and the Agency for Economic Affairs and Development are bringing successful female entrepreneurs from Africa and Germany together. The second Women's Business Breakfast took place as part of the second G20 Compact with Africa Investment Summit in Berlin. Among the participants were Dr Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Iris Plöger, member of the Executive Board of the BDI, Michaella Rugwizangoga, the CEOs of Volkswagen in Rwanda, Tanja Gönner, Spokeswoman of the Board of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and Christiane Laibach, Spokeswoman of the Board of the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG).