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Accounting for female employment in Africa


  • Anyanwu, John C.

    (Lead research economist, development research department, African development bank, temporary relocation agency, BP 323, 1002 Tunis, Tunisia)


Women employment has become a critical development challenge globally. This is because the exclusion of women in employment has potential negative effects on both sustainable inclusive development and poverty reduction. In this paper, we examine the characteristics and the key determinants of female employment in Africa. Our empirical estimates, using available cross-sectional data over the period, 1991 and 2009 suggest that in the all-Africa estimation, quadratic levels of real per capita GDP, greater access to credit by the private sector, more education, government consumption expenditure, economic growth increase female employment while higher levels of real GDP per capita, levels and quadratic institutionalized democracy, higher female to male population ratio, and being a net oil-exporting country tend to lower it. In Sub-Saharan Africa, quadratic levels of real per capita GDP, higher domestic investment, more education, and being a net oil-importing country tend to increase female employment while the level of real GDP per capita, the level of institutionalized democracy and its quadratic term, trade openness, urban share of the population, female to male population ratio, and credit to the private sector tend to lower it. For North Africa, the quadratic element of real GDP per capita, greater access to credit by the private sector, inflation, urbanization, and greater openness of the economy increase female employment; the level of real GDP per capita, the level of institutionalized democracy, and domestic investment lower female employment in the sub-region. The policy implications of these results are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Anyanwu, John C., 2012. "Accounting for female employment in Africa," European Economic Letters, European Economics Letters Group, vol. 1(1), pages 14-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:eueclt:0003

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    More about this item


    Female employment-to-population ratio; Male employment-to-population ratio; Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa


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