Acta Universitatis Danubius. Œconomica, Vol 15, No 6 (2019)

The Factors Contributing to the Low Numbers of Women Entrepreneurs in Kigali

Chux Gervase Iwu, Simon Nsengimana, Tengeh K Robertson


With excessively low levels of entrepreneurial activities reported for most developing countries, women who make up the majority of the population are under-represented in entrepreneural activities.  Although the low numbers of women in entrepreneurial activities have been aligned to cultural barriers, the role played by non-cultural factors has been overlooked in many cases. Using Kigali as the locus, this paper sought to identify the non-cultural reasons for the low numbers of women entrepreneurs in Rwanda.The data utilised for this study were solicited  from 398 women entrepreneurs  in Kigali by means of structured self-administered questionnaires. Though categorised as a quantitative study, primary focus was descriptive statistics, which were obtained through the use of version 24 of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The results suggest that the typical woman entrepreneur in Kigali is of age 29-43, married,  fairly educated and mostly in the retail subsector. In the order of gravity, the respondents noted the persistence of the following non-cultural factors as contributing to the low numbers of women entrepreneurs in Kigali: high rentals, limited access to captital, a complex tax system and the fear of failure. The contribution of this study lies in its examination of non-cultural reasons for the low uptake of entrepreneurial activity by women in Rwanda especially considering among other factors, Rwanda’s very low position in Africa’s total entrepreneurial activity (TEA). It is hoped that the results may inform policy directives that provide not only for the integration of women into mainstream economic activities but also continue to invest in the optimal utilisation of every member of Rwandan society irrespective of gender in furthering the economy.


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