In the USA alone, African American women’s business is the fastest growing sector in entrepreneurship. While this growth doesn’t speak much to capitalization or longevity, undoubtedly, African American women are going into business at an astonishing rate. This may also be due to the fact that African American women are the most educated population in the United States, bar none! That includes, Asian men, White men, immigrants and any other group.
While these are great numbers, I see great potential in extending that growth to Africa. African-American women businesses could benefit to connect with their sisters on the continent. Currently, the African Development Bank is pushing its African Women in Business Initiative which is slated to accomplish three goals:
- Raise awareness among stakeholders and mobilize key players in the field of AWIB promotion.
- Reinforce Business Support provisions
- Develop concrete forms of support to enterprise education and entrepreneurship development (AfDB 2017)
These are important goals that should be accomplished to better create opportunity on the continent. But it is also important to understand and integrate these goals into the traditional roles of women in African society. The market is an excellent example of the historical ingenuity and business acumen of African women. Women for many years worked primarily in the sale of goods.
If you have ever visited a city in West Africa, you are sure to see women–not only in the big market, but along streets and byways selling wares and goods. Many make those goods at home with the help of their children and venture into the city to make a profit. These micro-enterprises should be supported and I heartily believe an agenda of such magnitude should be created to connect African Americans of the Diaspora with women on the continent. I believe there are valuable lessons we can learn from each other. As sisters venture of business, we can create new marketplaces and re-imagine what profits may look like at home and abroad.