Women in Services Trade: An overview of female participation and ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa for 2022
Trade is an integral part of the engine of economic growth. Services trade has the potential to form an increasingly important role in trade within Africa and for Africa trading with the rest of the world. Trade in services comprises the supply of a service through one of four modes: 1) cross-border, 2) consumption abroad, 3) commercial presence, and 4) the presence of natural persons. Given the latest product and service export data from the ITC Trade Map, it is clear that service exports are considerably lower than products. Although there was an increasing trend for service exports in Africa, this was severely constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic. An approximate 34% decline in service exports from Africa between 2019 and 2020 was registered.
If women are excluded from the services economy, then a potential 50% of the available workforce is excluded with all the negative impacts on labour force productivity and drivers of change within the economy. There are many factors which could potentially hamper female participation. These include a lack of access to education, cultural norms, and a lack of economic activity diversity. As social and economic activities increase, overall economic efficiency increases which decreases gender gaps in terms of human capital. This directly leads to higher productivity of women in the labour force and will increase the sectoral share of female participation across the different sectors of the economy.
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