Is there Discrimination Against Female Entrepreneurs in Formal Credit Markets in Nigeria?

Access to finance is often cited as one of the major factors impeding the growth of women-owned businesses in developing countries. However, one critical question that remains in the existing literature is whether this “access problem” is due to actual discrimination against women entrepreneurs in the formal credit market, especially in the developing world, and if so, the extent to which women are discriminated against. An overview of the existing literature on access to credit suggests that, as of today, there is no clear conclusion on (nor evidence of) gender discrimination in the formal credit markets. In order to help inform related policy and program interventions, a team of local researchers in Nigeria has sought PEP support to examine the situation of women entrepreneurs (at the “small and medium enterprise” level) in their country – i.e. to assess whether the latter are marginalised in the formal credit markets, compared to their male counterparts. Their study also investigates the impact of credit access on the performance of enterprises.