Region
Middle East & North Africa

This content is also available in: Español, Português

"Backed by a unique database of over 255 African companies supported by I&P and insights from two decades of experience in impact investing, we highlight the critical role of formal SMEs in driving sustainable and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, how SMEs face barriers to accessing traditional financing, and how Catalytic capital offers a solution to bridge this gap. I&P shares insights on improving conditions and availability of catalytic capital, fostering collective learning for more impact investments in Africa."

READ MORE

"Female founders raise less capital from investors than male founders, even if their ventures are similar or identical. However, providing systematic evaluation frameworks could encourage investors to assess all candidates equally, thus reducing gender disparities. In this vein, the authors – Amisha Miller and Saurabh Lall – investigated whether changing systematic evaluation practices could close the gender gap in investment decisions. The authors designed and implemented a two-stage experiment in collaboration with Village Capital across different developing regions across Africa, South Asia (India), the Middle East, and Latin America to reduce gender disparities in investment decisions. The experimental findings confirm that using a systematic evaluation framework – prompting investors to consider both risks and growth, as well as progress – reduces or even reverses gender disparities in investment decisions. This study provides strong causal evidence for an intervention that can be implemented right out the gate at a low cost: providing a systematic evaluation framework to investors."

READ MORE

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the region with the lowest rates of female-owned business, as only 10% of all firms are owned by women. Increasing and promoting female entrepreneurship is therefore very important and has a high potential to broaden labour force participation and diversify the economic landscape of MENA countries. This project aims to address this issue by assessing the effectiveness of an export promotion program targeted at female-owned enterprises in Tunisia who have the objective to export to other African markets. This project update shares the methodology used to address this research question and early insights that have emerged so far.

READ MORE

"This assessment was conducted by a mixed international-local team with youth participation, and is the first of a series of labor market assessments to be conducted under the Workforce Connections project. The methodology builds on standard approaches to understanding labor markets used in the past by USAID, other donors, governments, and private organizations, with the addition of a more focused economic analysis which makes it possible to generate deeper insight into the drivers of skills demand. Results from this and the other Workforce Connections assessments, and the tools used to generate them, will be shared and further refined through the project's Community of Practice over the coming year. The assessment also contains a summary of lessons learned about workforce development programming."

READ MORE

"This report unpacks why women's entrepreneurship is good for business and is essential for economic growth. Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key driver of economic growth, and women-owned enterprises account for approximately 30-37 percent (8-10 million) of all SMEs in emerging markets. As such, women are the fastest-growing market segment, they start businesses at a higher rate than men, and it is expected that they will create approximately 50 percent of new small business jobs by 2018. In developing economies, SMEs are increasingly important, as they contribute to nearly half of the labor force."

READ MORE