Rwanda Registers Record-High Growth in Women-Owned Businesses

There has been a tremendous increase in female ownership of individual enterprises in the past five years, showcasing the growth of women entrepreneurship in the country, a new report by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicates.

According to RDB’s annual report released last week, female ownership of businesses increased from 27 per cent in 2017 to 34 per cent in 2022, indicating a trend towards greater gender balance in the private sector.

For instance, the figures show, in 2022, 39 per cent of companies had at least one female company director, “which highlights Rwanda’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity in corporate leadership.”

Overall 93,764 businesses were registered in 2022, comprising 18,692 domestic companies, 74,779 individual enterprises and 63 foreign companies.

“Female ownership of individual enterprises has risen significantly, from 38% in 2017 to 50% in 2022, underscoring the importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the business sector,” the report reads in part.

Over one billion investment

According to RDB, $1.6 billion worth of transformative investments in various sectors against a target of $2bn, was registered in 2022.

The investment, RDB said, is expected to generate 57,627 jobs. Total exports of goods and services recorded a significant increase in 2022, reaching $2.9bn, representing a growth of 40.5 per cent from $2.1bn in 2021.

“Rwanda ranked first in sub-Saharan Africa in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, a testament to the country’s commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law, and generated a remarkable increase in tourism revenues with $445 million recorded in 2022 compared to $164 million in 2021, representing a 171.3 per cent increase,” the report adds.