According to recent history and IMF forecasts, Africa’s economic boom and fast-growing economy is predicted to continue in years ahead. There are two dynamics attributing to this impressive growth. First the worldwide boom in commodities, and secondly, the value created by a vibrant new generation of African entrepreneurs. Developing the capabilities of these entrepreneurs will be critical to sustaining this growth into the future.
Evidence suggests that the backbone of every African economy is small and medium-size business (SME), rather than large domestic businesses, multinationals or government organizations.
And it is in this SME sector that young men and women are building high-growth companies and innovating new products and commercial models appropriate to African markets. These SMEs are driving the economies, contributing to national GDPs and creating employment for millions of people.
Therefore, the key solution for creating jobs, improving living standards, developing sustainable economies across the market, and generating renewed economic growth on the continent is to empower African youth and entrepreneurs in order to turn their great ideas into a reality.
Although young entrepreneurs may demonstrate ideas, motivation and expertise, they lack experience and capital assets. Most new startups struggle to grow and their failure rate is extremely high.
Entrepreneurship programs must be redesigned to keep up with changes in the global environment, providing an extensive range of tools that allow entrepreneurs to transform their business ideas into thriving business entities.
In particular, we must encourage women entrepreneurs. All around the globe, there are women-owned businesses that are driving economic growth, creating jobs and significantly contributing to intergenerational wealth. Yet, despite recent gains, women-owned businesses continue to lag behind men on key economic indicators and, comparatively, their businesses do not grow at the same rate.
If young entrepreneurs are to lead the way and act as economic driving force in the future, it is important that they attain the necessary capital and expertise to help their small businesses grow. The continent abounds in opportunities and daunting challenges for these young entrepreneurs, and their decisions on how they address these challenges could shape the future of the world in unprecedented ways.