A study commissioned by Invest for Jobs shows that there are considerable opportunities to create jobs and attract investors in the menstrual hygiene sector.
People have insufficient access to menstrual products in our eight partner countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia) because the products are too expensive and there is a lack of information about menstrual hygiene. Despite these challenges, the market potential of the sector is growing, especially in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda. These are the main findings of the study ‘Growth Potential of the Menstrual Hygiene Market in Invest for Jobs Countries’ conducted by the consulting firm Dalberg on behalf of Invest for Jobs in 2023. The study focused on the menstrual hygiene sector as a whole, the overall policy framework, and the willingness to invest in these countries. Even though around 86 million people in our eight partner countries menstruate every month, 31 per cent of them have no access to menstrual products. That has direct negative impacts not only on the lives of menstruating people, but also on the companies they work for and on schoolgirls’ education. In Rwanda, for example, 23 per cent of working women said that they had missed work because menstrual products were unavailable. What is more, the most widespread form of sanitary protection is disposable sanitary towels – which do not decompose readily and whose manufacture and disposal are detrimental to the environment.Increasing sales, innovative players and reusable productsHowever, revenues from the sale of menstrual products have risen by 41 per cent in all our partner countries over the last five years. In addition, innovative players are emerging in Africa that want to improve access to a wider choice of more affordable menstrual products. The study cites Ethiopia as an example, where nine companies, including seven SMEs, have entered this market. The manufacture of reusable products is an area with particular potential for creating jobs. The study calculated that scaling up the domestic manufacture of menstrual products to supply specially produced items for all menstrual problems could generate around 2,000 new jobs, assuming that 5 per cent of menstruating people buy reusable menstrual products. The segment for reusable menstrual products is expected to grow in Egypt. It is predicted that the number of people choosing reusable products will increase by 23 per cent between 2019 and 2030, rising from 1.1 million to 1.3 million. In Ghana, too, the number of people who prefer reusable menstrual products is expected to rise by 28 per cent by 2030 compared with 2019.The findings of the study confirm that the menstrual hygiene sector offers considerable growth potential in the partner countries supported by Invest for Jobs in cooperation with the private sector. Invest for Jobs is already working with Mela for Her, an Ethiopian company specialised in manufacturing reusable sanitary towels. Invest for Jobs is supporting the company’s expansion plans and its creation of decent jobs for women.The executive summary of the study is available here.
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