The rapid digital transformation underway in Africa has the potential to have an equally transformative impact on women entrepreneurs. Although Africa boasts a higher incidence of women entrepreneurs compared to men, women-owned (WO) businesses across the continent tend to be smaller, have lower average sales, and have fewer employees (World Bank 2019).
The exponential growth of e-commerce in Africa presents an opportunity to close gender gaps by opening more markets to WO enterprises. Between 2014 and 2020, the number of online shoppers in the region grew annually by an average of 18 percent, compared to the global average of 12 percent (Davarpanah 2020). Similar trends could bring the value of the sector from $20 billion in 2020 to $84 billion by 2030–a milestone which may have already been accelerated by the high demand for online shopping catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic (Statista 2020).