Kigali, Rwanda, November 6, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs
today released a report that reveals an increase in women’s participation
and leadership in the private sector and their significant contribution
to Rwanda’s development.
The report, Voices of Women Entrepreneurs
in Rwanda, provides new information for policymakers to better support
women in business. It also features role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs,
who today attended the chamber’s first national roundtable, “Integrating
Women Entrepreneurs in the Economic Development of Rwanda.” The roundtable
was chaired by Jeanette Kagame, the first lady of Rwanda.
Rwanda is a leader among developing
nations in creating opportunities for women. Forty-two percent of enterprises
are headed by women, spurred by Rwanda’s 2003 constitution and matrimonial
inheritance and land law reforms. The country is also a leader in women’s
participation in government—over half of parliamentarians are women and
key political posts are occupied by women.
Thérèse Bibonobono, Director of the
Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, said, “This report serves as an
inspiration for young women who are just starting in their professional
life in a challenging post-conflict environment.”
The chamber is partnering with the IFC
Rwanda Entrepreneurship Program to offer training for women entrepreneurs
and introduce IFC’s small business support innovations Business Edge and
In Rwanda’s informal sector, 58 percent
of enterprises are headed by women, accounting for 30 percent of national
output. Yet women continue to face impediments from entering the formal
sector, and have limited access to managerial positions and technical skills
training. The report shows that despite these challenges, women are branching
out into new sectors such as information and communication technologies
and oil and gas.
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director
for Eastern and Southern Africa, said, “This report highlights the powerful
impact that women entrepreneurs are having in Rwanda today and how continued
support for women in business is critical for development.”
Since its founding, IFC has committed
$18.5 million in financing to companies operating in Rwanda. IFC’s investment
strategy in the country focuses on sectors with high development potential
such as tourism, infrastructure, financial markets, agribusiness, construction,
and private education. IFC provides advisory services to support an improved
investment climate, encourage entrepreneurs, and increase access to finance
through leasing and mortgage finance and better credit reporting.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous
year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About the Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs
The Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs
is one of nine chambers of the Private Sector Federation. Its mission is
to promote women’s entrepreneurship within the private sector economic
development, through the promotion of training, creativity, and competitiveness
at the national, regional, and international levels. For more information,