On February 18, 2016, a team of local researchers organized a policy conference in Dakar, to share and discuss their PEP findings on gender differences in entrepreneurial activities, credit access and firms' performance in Senegal. The event attracted high-level policy stakeholders who actively participated in the discussion.
Selected for support under the PAGE initiative in 2014, the objective of this project is to assess whether female entrepreneurs face discrimination in credit access in Senegal, and how it may affect firms’ performance. Their results show mainly that female ownership is not a determining factor for a firm to access credit or be more efficient. Other factors, such as managers’ education level, sectorial or regional distribution, financial experience, etc. are more important to determine a firms' efficiency or constraints in credit access. They also find that credit has positive impact on firms' performance. Find out more about the research methods, findings and ensued policy recommendations in the following PEP publications: Working paper 2015-14 (full paper) and Policy brief 127
The main objective of this conference was to present and discuss the implications of these findings with a variety of stakeholders, in order to raise awareness on the issues amidst government, development practitioners and civil society. Participants included representatives from the Organization of Female Business Owners (UFCE), the National Funds for the Promotion of Female Entrepreneurship (FNPEF, part of the Ministry of Female, Family and Children), Directorate for Private Sector Development (DASP, part of Ministry of Economy and Finances), national media and experts from the academia. The discussions generated keen interest as well as highly relevant feedbacks and comments from the audience. Follow this link to access the event's program.
During the discussion, numerous participants shared their views regarding the findings. Many suggested, in particular, that further study should look beyond the specific constraints related to credit access to examine the various other challenges and types of discrimination faced by female entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the team’s policy recommendations for improving the functioning of the credit market – e.g. simplifying the credit demand processes and familiarizing entrepreneurs with related procedures - were viewed as very useful and insightful, and also in line with current policy makers’ preoccupations. DASP’s representatives also highlighted the relevance of specific aspects of the research, such as the determinants of firms’ performance. They confirmed that the results would serve to inform specific policy design. Following the event, the PEP researchers were invited to join the platform “La Maison de l’Entreprise” set up by several donors, organizations and the government to foster discussion and debate around various issues related to entrepreneurship.
Finally, the conference also benefited from important media coverage at the national level: over the following days, the event and related discussions were reported through various medias and newscasts, such as RTS Television, Trade FM and Journal Le Soleil.