Why Africa will be led forward by entrepreneurs


Zandre Campos| ABO Capital

As Africa continues to prosper, it’s important to acknowledge the role that entrepreneurs play in driving the country forward. Entrepreneurship is a daunting undertaking, and through my own business ventures I know the challenges that anyone can face when looking to take that leap of faith. But it was – and continues to be – worth it. We need to make it worth it for those in Africa who also want to make that same leap into entrepreneurship.

Photo: Shutterstock

There has been a shift in the way that African countries are supporting those who are looking to start and lead businesses. As we can see in the Legatum Prosperity Index released in the 2016 Africa Prosperity Report by the Legatum Institute, seven of the top 10 countries ranked put an emphasis on entrepreneurship and opportunity. According to that same report, business startups have seen a decrease of costs by a third and the African Economic Outlook found that 80 percent of Africans look at entrepreneurship as a “good career opportunity.”

It’s encouraging to see – but it shouldn’t stop there.

There is so much promise in Africa. Our countries have more young people growing up in a time when literacy rates are higher than ever and access to technology continues to flourish. Entrepreneurs will be the ones who change the way our economy operates and will use their creative spirit to do so.

The 2016 Africa Prosperity Report recommends that Africa “diversify the economy and manufacturing.” That can be achieved by opening doors for innovators who want to bring something new to the table. The Tony Elumelu Foundation just hosted more than 1,000 participants at its third-annual entrepreneurship forum. There’s even A.Y.E. or Africa’s Young Entrepreneur, a reality show in its second season that hopes to give a start to those with big ideas.

Young entrepreneurs with big ideas will diversify the African economy and manufacturing sector. Africa’s entrepreneurs are cunning, smart and are able to provide solutions to problems that plague our economy today – and might even be the solution for those problems that do not even exist yet. In order to prosper, we need to continue to support those who are willing and ready to take the leap and change our economic landscape for the better.