Credit Constraints and Entrepreneurship in Africa: The Impact of Policies

Mina Baliamoune-Lutz, University of North Florida, Zuzana Brixiová, United Nations Development Programme, and Léonce Ndikumana University of Massachusetts

Limited access of entrepreneurs to credit constrains the creation of new private firms as well as growth of the existing ones in developing countries world-wide. In Africa, access by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to credit is particularly limited due to unclear property rights and the lack of assets that can be used as collateral. This paper presents a model where firm creation and growth hinge on matching searching entrepreneurs with technologies and on acquired capital.

The shortage of collateral creates a binding credit constraint on SMEs borrowing and hence private sector development, even though the banking sectors have ample liquidity, as is the case in many SSA countries. Empirical testing of the model shows that policies aimed at easing the binding credit constraints (e.g., the depth of credit information and the strength of legal rights pertaining to collateral and bankruptcy) would stimulate productive entrepreneurship in Africa.