Visa has launched a new campaign initiative called 'She's Next', which seeks to empower and encourage African female micro-and small-business owners as they fund, run and grow their businesses across the continent.
The global expansion of the campaign was announced at the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, as part of Visa's ongoing commitment to support female entrepreneurs.
According to Visa, the number of women entrepreneurs is growing around the world, with 163 million starting businesses since 2014 alone. Additionally, the highest percentage of these women are in Africa, where 26 per cent of women start or manage a business. She's Next campaign in Africa that is powered by Visa, is expected to harness the power of Visa's global brand and network to build awareness of African women entrepreneurs and invest in them to provide them with tools to build their businesses.
Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager, Visa sub-Saharan Africa, Aida Diarra, said: "Women entrepreneurs are the backbone of local economies, and the need for support is real. Closing the gender gap requires persistent hard work and support. That is why Visa is using its voice to shine a light on the contributions and economic potential of female-owned micro-and small-businesses around the world."
"Women typically reinvest up to 90 per cent of their income in the education, health and nutrition of their families and communities - compared to up to 40 per cent for men, which makes investing in women's businesses one way that Visa can help transform societies," Diarra said.
Launched in January 2019 in the United States, She's Next campaign, empowered by Visa, is expanding globally for the first time in Africa. With the expansion, She's Next extends its signature pop-up events to offer networking opportunities for female entrepreneurs in Africa.
A new study, which was commissioned by Visa and conducted by research firm 4Sight Africa, investigates the role of technologies like electronic payments in enabling the business success of female entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Some key findings showed that African women acknowledge the role of electronic payments in business success, with 83 per cent of respondents who said accepting or receiving electronic payments improves their businesses' bottom line, while 74 per cent said customers spend more when they have access to electronic payments. The report findings however said most have not moved beyond cash and mobile money except in South Africa, where credit cards are more ubiquitous compared to Kenya and Nigeria.
According to the report, the women surveyed are positive about the future and 70 per cent indicated that they feel they are financially independent, while almost 90 per cent of women indicated that they feel more empowered as a female business owner than they did five years ago.
Overall, market competition, lack of funding, business networking and training for growth are the common challenges facing female owned small businesses in Africa, Visa said in a statement.