Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda

Published: October 2008

This document presents voices of women entrepreneuers in Rwanda. Rwanda is recognized as a world leader in promoting gender equality and offers an encouraging example of how post-conflict countries can seize the reform momentum after conflict ends to support women's empowerment. Women entrepreneurs are a significant force in Rwanda's private sector. Yet inequalities persist. Available data indicate that women's share of business ownership decreases as the degree of formalization increases. Women entrepreneurs, especially successful businesswomen, are increasingly able to purchase or inherit land, and secure bank loans. Women in Rwanda perceive tax rates as a top business constraint. Women-owned businesses indicate the need for management and technical skills and better access to training facilities to grow their businesses. The report is informed by an in-depth legal and regulatory analysis, but also reflects the successes and challenges highlighted by the women interviewed.

Key Findings

  • Women in Rwanda perceive tax rates as a top business constraint.
  • Women-owned businesses indicate the need for management and technical skills and better access to training facilities to grow their businesses.
  • The stories of the businesswomen in Rwanda illustrate how women are overcoming the tragedy of genocide and becoming even stronger, as they create new hope and opportunities while rebuilding their society.
  • Rwanda is recognized as a world leader in promoting gender equality and offers an encouraging example of how post-conflict countries can seize the reform momentum after conflict ends to support women's empowerment.
  • Women entrepreneurs are a significant force in Rwanda's private sector, yet inequalities persist.
  • Available data indicate that women's share of business ownership decreases as the degree of formalization increases.
  • Women entrepreneurs, especially successful businesswomen, are increasingly able to purchase or inherit land, and secure bank loans.

Populations Women

Complementary Outcomes Women's Rights

Industries Business

Publishers International Finance Corporation (IFC), Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs of the Private Sector Federation

Geographic Focus Africa (Central)-Rwanda