In Ethiopia, Female Entrepreneurs Get a Chance to Pursue Their Dreams

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 3,000 women in Ethiopia have benefited from a special line of credit for female entrepreneurs backed by the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, IDA.
  • An estimated 70% of small and medium businesses owned by women in developing countries can’t get enough financing to grow.
  • The project aims to unlock capital to help close the financing gap, particularly for growth-oriented businesses that need bigger loans equivalent to $10,000 or more.

Zinabua Hailu has a dream. She wants to build a big hotel with “stars” — one that meets international rating standards, the kind of hotel tourists might frequent.

It’s not an impossible dream. Over the last eight years, the mother of three has built her business from a one-room, one-person food vendor operation into a 10-room hotel and restaurant with a staff of 18 in the bustling Gofa neighborhood of Addis Ababa.

Zinabua is among more than 3,000 women in Ethiopia who have been able to tap financing since 2013 to start or expand a small business. A special line of credit for female entrepreneurs is being offered through the Development Bank of Ethiopia and selected Ethiopian microfinance institutions and backed by the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association, with additional financing from the international development agencies of Canada and the United Kingdom.

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