World Bank Discussion Paper No. 271. This study incorporates data from comparable surveys across five African countries--Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, and Tanzania--to analyze how small and micro enterprises have been positively and negatively affected by policy liberalization schemes. Some grow rapidly by adapting their products, while others stagnate because of import competition and increased self- employment. Comparisons were made between small firms, with 6 to 49 workers, and microenterprises, with fewer than 6. The study suggests a two-pronged strategy: (1) to facilitate widespread participation in microenterprises, broad measures are needed to lower the costs of entry, generate demand for their goods and services, raise the educational level and incomes of the poor, and encourage informal financial institutions; (2) to stimulate growth of potentially dynamic enterprises, well-targeted measures may be appropriate to lower the costs of entry, increase access to credit, and provide demand-driven business services. Also available in French (ISBN 0-8213-3907-0) Stock No. 13907.