November is Global Entrepreneurship Month. Entrepreneurship is vital to the vibrancy of the U.S. economy, and we see promoting entrepreneurship around the world as a key part of sharing that prosperity and innovation. The American Center in Bamako hosted seventeen women and girls at the U.S. Embassy to discuss women’s entrepreneurship and its benefits for Mali’s economic development as part of a month promoting entrepreneurship around the world. The session allowed participants to understand procedures for creating a business and texts governing the sector in Mali. Mr. Kassoum Coulibaly, President & CEO – Global Institute for Women’s Empowerment Group (IMAF Group), inspired the participants and moderated the conversation.
During the session, participants and Mr. Coulibaly discussed obstacles hindering women’s entrepreneurship in Mali, including limits of national and international administrative support, the importance of transparency in allocation of support to beneficiaries, and the essential role of professional support structures for innovative entrepreneurship. Participants recommended the development and implementation of a national strategy for women’s entrepreneurship, increased funding of women’s businesses, and better coordination of actions of international agencies and NGOs.
According to a recent women’s entrepreneurship survey, despite women accounting for 51% of Mali’s population and their significant contribution to wealth creation, inequalities between men and women persist and constitute one of the root causes of poverty, especially in rural areas. The vast majority of women’s businesses operate in the informal sector of the economy and women represent only a small percentage of Malian entrepreneurs.