Uganda ranks first in the world for the country with the highest level of entrepreneurship with women leading the pack.
This was according to a research study carried out by UK-based business networking group, Approved Index, The number was calculated by the percentage of the adult population that owns or co-owns a new business and has paid salaries or wages for three or more months.
According to the report, an impressive 28 per cent of the Ugandan population are entrepreneurs taking advantage of the country's new-found freedom after decades of dictatorship.
“Many of the self-employed are seeing their businesses expand because of the country’s recently laid fibre optic cables that connect even remote villages to the internet.”
While women are trailblasing the entrepreneurial landscape in Uganda to increase their economic prospects, the challenges stacked against them are still heavy. According to the report, although 40 per cent of all businesses are owned by women, 93 per cent of business credit still goes to men.
The Ugandan Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) is an initiative that is fighting against this gender bias. UWEAL holds annual awards for the best Female Entrepreneur of the Year to drive forward the motivation of female entrepreneurs defying stereotypes.
“Culturally in Uganda women don’t own land, and that is the major requirement from the bank to show them what you have and what is your security,” said Stella Maris Ddumba-Sewagaba, chief executive officer at UWEAL.
Three other African countries that made it on to the top ten of the entrepreneurship list include: Angola, Cameroon and Botswana all following the similar trend of women pioneering the entrepreneurial space.
Unexpectedly the US ranked 41st in the world with only 4.3 per cent of their adult population being entrepreneurs. Similarly, Britain was ranked only 37th with 4.6% of its adult population being entrepreneurs.
In these developed countries, entrepreneurship is associated with startups whereas in African countries becoming self-employed is pursued as a matter of necessity rather than dream.
“In countries where the economy is poorer, or where unemployment rates are high, citizens turn to starting their own small businesses where they see opportunity,” Trilby Rajna of Approved Index said.