Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda


Women's Voices in Business

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. Radical reforms in the aftermath of the genocide have set the platform for transforming women’s role in society.

The 2003 constitution outlaws discrimination based on gender. Reformed matrimonial, inheritance, and land laws have opened opportunities for women’s economic independence. Today more than half of Rwanda’s parliament is female and women’s labor force participation rates are a high 79.5 percent. Women entrepreneurs are a significant force in Rwanda’s private sector. Women head 42 percent of enterprises. They comprise 58 percent of enterprises in the informal sector, which accounts for 30 percent of GDP. The majority are engaged in the retail sector (82 percent), with the rest focusing on services (16 to 17 percent) and manufacturing (1 to 2 percent) sectors. Many women’s businesses are successful and large, and Rwandan women are increasingly branching out into non-traditional sectors such as information and communication technologies (Icts) or dealing in fuel.

This case study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) tells the real-life stories of how Rwandan women are fulfilling this significant force and taking on empowered roles as women entrepreneurs. 

For further information, please see the attachment.


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  • PublicationDate: 1 0ct 2008
  • Author(s): International Finance Corporation
  • Related Programs: Vulnerable Women Program
  • Media Type: Document
Published in Case studies
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