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Assessing the Enabling Environment for Women in Growth Enterprises: An AfDB/ILO Integrated Framework Assessment Guide

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L. Stevenson
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There is a growing recognition of the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) for development in Africa. Women's entrepreneurial activities mainly take place within the context of MSMEs which currently create the majority of new jobs across the continent. However, women face particular barriers and disadvantages such as lack of adequate support, information, protection and representation. This Growth-oriented Women Entrepreneurs (GOWEs) framework from the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organization (ILO) provides a way of reviewing and reporting on a range of supportive mechanisms that can enhance women's growth projects in a country. This assessment framework can be applied over a two-week fact-finding visit to a country in order to establish what needs to be done to support an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs and women's businesses. It is designed for use by policymakers, researchers, evaluators, programme managers, business and financial consultants, development advisers and women entrepreneurs' associations.Section one introduces the framework and its objectives. Section two introduces the assessment process - pre-field work, field work, synthesis/assessment and writing up. Section three presents the analytical framework for policies and programmes required to create an enabling environment for women's enterprise. These include leadership, regulatory systems, training, credit, access to information, associations and networks, premises and market access. Section four provides a suggested outline for the final report. Templates and matrices are also included to help researchers look at statistics and information gathered in the interview process.