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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING ACCESS TO FINANCE FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION ON THE STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING ACCESS TO FINANCE FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Cameroon stands out as one of the largest and most diversified economies within the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) region, contributing 45 percent of the region's GDP in 2021. Over the past few decades, women in Cameroon have witnessed improved access to education and skills development, consequently leading to expanded income-generating opportunities(Mugwara, 2020). However, their presence in the professional and business spheres has become notably pronounced, exemplified by the near equal representation of women alongside men in high-ranking positions such as legislators, senior officials, and managers(Tucker, 2019). Furthermore, the labor force participation rate among women in Cameroon reached 70.2 percent in 2021, surpassing the average for Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the gender disparity in employment remains minimal. However, akin to their male counterparts, the majority of employed women in Cameroon operate within the informal sector, with 83.2 percent being self-employed. Despite the low unemployment rate for women, recorded at 4.2 percent in 2019, it underscores the imperative need for employment (Ahmad, 2022). Yet, these self-employed roles typically entail low-skilled tasks and limited earnings, devoid of social protection benefits. Consequently, while Cameroon exhibits high employment rates, the prevalence of precarious job conditions remains widespread. Additionally, according to Amyx (2019), one of the most significant challenges is the negative perception towards SMEs and most especially women SME operators. Potential clients perceive small businesses as lacking the ability to provide quality services and are unable to satisfy more than one critical project simultaneously. Often larger companies are selected and given business for their clout in the industry and name recognition alone. Therefore, a survey will be conducted to  investigate the strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In the competitive landscape of the business world, women entrepreneurs often encounter perceptions of inferiority when compared to their male counterparts. On the other hand, financial institutions, primarily concerned with maximizing profits quickly, often view women entrepreneurs as less capable of timely delivery and, consequently, anticipate delays in loan repayment. The prevailing business climate is perceived as challenging, particularly for women who may struggle to adapt.

Furthermore, there exists a prevailing belief that women excel primarily in unskilled or semi-skilled businesses such as hairstyling, fashion designing, bead and soap making, and home-based ventures (Blanton, 2020). Unfortunately, these types of businesses are often deemed insufficient for generating the desired level of profit by financial institutions. Consequently, when a woman entrepreneur presents a business proposal for a high-tech firm or household upholstery importation business, bank officials, particularly business and risk officers, are often hesitant to view such ventures as viable, let alone approve them for loans. Nevertheless, research indicates that women-owned businesses typically start with low startup and working capital, resulting in limited growth potential, partially due to the nature of their chosen business activities. Given these circumstances, the question arises: what strategies can women entrepreneurs adopt to facilitate easier access to funding and level the playing field with their male counterparts? Thus, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate the strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to  investigate the strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

Determine the extent women entrepreneur are adequately financed in Cameroon

Investigate the factors limiting access to finance among women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

Determine the impact of adequate access to finance on the performance of  women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

To what extent are women entrepreneur  adequately financed in Cameroon?

What are the factors limiting access to finance among women entrepreneurs in Cameroon?

What is the impact of adequate access to finance on the performance of  women entrepreneurs in Cameroon?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

Ho: There are no significant strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon.

Ha: There are significant strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

1.6  Significance of the Study 

Findings from the study will inform policymakers and stakeholders about the specific challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in accessing finance and guide the development of targeted policies and programs. This will lead to the creation of a more enabling environment for women's entrepreneurship, including reforms in financial regulations, the provision of tailored financial products, and capacity-building initiatives. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to investigate the strategies for improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is to investigate financial crime; it's causes and implications on the growth of small businesses in Cameroon. Empirically, this study will determine the extent women entrepreneur are adequately financed in Cameroon, investigate the factors limiting access to finance among women entrepreneurs in Cameroon and determine the impact of adequate access to finance on the performance of  women entrepreneurs in Cameroon.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents of Buea, Cameroon.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.9 Definition of Terms

Finance: refers to the management of money and other assets, including investments, lending, borrowing, budgeting, and financial planning. It involves activities related to the allocation and utilization of funds to achieve financial goals.

Entrepreneur: is an individual who starts, organizes, and manages a business venture, assuming the associated risks in pursuit of profits or social objectives.

Strategies: are plans or actions designed to achieve specific objectives or goals within a given context or situation.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: Yes available


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