Using nationally representative data from surveys conducted in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, this chapter examines three themes in the microenterprise literature: microfinance, the legal environment, and income contributions. The data from these four countries were collected using the same survey methods, sampling techniques, and questionnaire formats, which allows for an accurate ... [Show full abstract] comparison of the microenterprise sector across countries. Furthermore, the large sample size, ranging from 1,200 to 11,000 enterprises in the four countries, and the in-depth questionnaire helps to examine microenterprise issues in greater detail. Regarding the first theme, microfinance, the data show that less than one-quarter of proprietors perceive the lack of operating or investment funds as one of their two major constraints. Furthermore, this lack of funds may not necessarily reflect a need for credit. Many proprietors report that they do not need credit and are unlikely to apply for credit. Similarly, very few proprietors see the legal environment as a constraint. Less than one percent of proprietors in all four countries cite the legal environment as one of their two most important constraints. While a minority of enterprises may register following the relaxation of government regulations, most enterprises will continue to operate informally. Finally, despite very low earnings, microenterprises help to alleviate poverty given their large contributions to household income. Over 55 percent of all enterprises contribute half or more of household income. They also contribute to national income based on the large size of the sector.