Resilience is the keyword for Africa’s entrepreneurship success
The numerous success stories of Africa’s resilient entrepreneurs are inspiring and heartwarming because many of them have initiated their start-ups from scratch with no inherited wealth. In other words, they have started from very humble beginnings.
A beacon of hope
According to the Africa Development Bank, 22 percent of Africa’s working-age population are starting businesses, thereby representing the world’s highest entrepreneurship rate. The Continent is a promising economic hub with a young and quickly growing population.
Entrepreneurship continues to gain momentum
The significance of entrepreneurship will continue to gain momentum in Africa, with experts projecting that the Continent will need 122 million new jobs by 2022.
A bumpy path
There are numerous hurdles that Africa’s entrepreneurs face in starting businesses, which consequently discourage some aspirants from venturing into business. Some Africans have extremely brilliant business ideas, but they give up on starting a business due to a lack of capital. On the other hand, the optimization of capital can pose a challenge, too. BBC has reported that in 2017, $560m was invested in African start-ups, with South Africa receiving 30% of the funding, Kenya 26%, and Nigeria 20%. At least 87% of the funding went to technology firms to develop new online, mobile, and financial services. All that innovation comes from the 442 tech hubs based across the continent. Likewise, Africa received up to $300 million in tech Startups funding, and in the following year, the number rose to $400 million.
The 2017 African Economic Outlook report listed issues that have been known to cripple small businesses. These are limited by access to finance, unstable and costly access to electricity, political instability, high tax rates, corruption, and customs and trade regulations.
A new insights report, “Building a Resilient Innovative Africa,” has been released by Djembe Consultants in partnership with AfriLabs, the largest pan-African network of technology and innovation centers. The report assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the continent’s young innovators and entrepreneurs. It provides perspectives from industry experts on how African decision-makers from both the public and private sectors can accelerate support across the full innovation spectrum, including education, inclusivity, investment, policy, and research and development. It was launched during a panel discussion at the virtual 5th AfriLabs Annual Gathering.
According to Entrepre-news, the report is a result of a survey of over 1,000 pan-African innovators, entrepreneurs, and start-ups from both Djembe’s and AfriLabs’ vast innovation and entrepreneurship networks.
Support of governments is crucial
The African governments have a crucial role in creating a conducive environment for the growth of business and entrepreneurship on the Continent. The necessary measures to address the entrepreneurs’ challenges include, most importantly, building adequate physical infrastructure, such as the provision of adequate electricity supply, ensuring the rule of law, and combating corruption that usually drives potential investors away.
In April 2018, Tunisia became the first African country to pass legislation known as the Startup Act. The Tunisian Startup Act was passed into law by the country’s parliament after two years of deliberations and consultations with the local startup ecosystem leaders. On the other hand, Senegal has become the second African country after Tunisia to pass “The Senegal Startup Act,” which aims to promote innovation ripple effect on the national economy in accordance with the “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy.
Despite the challenges that lie in the path of entrepreneurship in Africa, the Continent’s entrepreneurs continue to maintain resilience and perseverance, resulting in untold success stories.