Why empowering women entrepreneurs on the continent is a real economic game-changer

The second U.S. Africa Business Forum convened earlier this week in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, with political heavyweights such as U.S. President Barack Obama delivering keynote addresses. U.S. agencies and companies announced plans to invest more than $14 billion on the continent in sectors including banking, construction and information technology. Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa, also speaking at the conference, said: “I continue to be excited about the incredible innovation and entrepreneurship that is happening across the continent. GE has a rich history in Africa and we are committed to continue investing on the continent." The topic of investing in women-led enterprises in Africa was also top of the agenda at the forum, with reports such as the 2016 McKinsey Women Matter Africa report supporting the premise that investing in women or gender-diverse enterprises makes good business sense. According to the report, companies with higher female executive committee representation are 14% more likely to outperform their competitors. USADF (the U.S. African Development Foundation) an organisation that supports African-led solutions, understands the importance of investing in women - it is now focusing its investment efforts on launching the next generation of women entrepreneurs to light the way for other women on the continent.  It’s good to see influential organisations and global business giants recognising that empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs on the continent is a real economic game-changer.