Odhiambo Kevin Odhiambo laid out a very systematic list of issues that Africa needed urgent attention.
Africa is approximated to have a population of around 1.215 billion people of which around 300 million are youths aged between 15-30 years. This group has the great ability and potential of transforming the face of Africa not only in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ) but also African Union Agenda 2063. But despite having all this large youthful population, Africa is still regarded as third world continent in terms of development and transformation.
The only way Africans youths can exploit their full potentials and abilities in transforming Africa is to shift their attention from white collar jobs to venturing into entrepreneurial activities and business creation, this is because the rate at which African population is growing is a double digits to the rate at which the labor markets are absorbing, thus the rate of unemployment has drastically increased in the past decade.
Entrepreneurship and business creation are the only growing alternatives for young Africans in curbing unemployment problems and driving economic development in Africa. Therefore, entrepreneurship and business creation ought not to be taken lightly as it has been for very long period, it should be promoted in all ways to ensure better living conditions for Africans youths and fostering economic growth and development in Africa.
Therefore, youths and governments should be in forefront in promoting entrepreneurship and business creation. The following are ways in which African governments and youths can entrepreneurship and economic development.
- ELIMINATING CORRUPTION AND UNETHICAL CONDUCT
Africa is regarded as a continent with vast business opportunities and an investment destination of choice for many international entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses horizon by branching out and accessing population with large consumer demand.
However for the past decade corruption risk in Africa has rapidly increased and has become insurmountable obstacle for doing business in Africa, hence the saying, you do not succeed by chance in Africa you need connection. Young children, women, the poor and unemployed youths are the most vulnerable groups that are affected by corruption. Our country Kenya has been affected by corruption to an extend that even most youths believe that they cannot succeed without corruption, even if they work hard in achieving their dream careers they will have to bribe someone to be successful in life. If we as youths and our governments will not stand up and adopt good policies and measures to eradicate administrative, professional and business corruption, our vision for economic development will soon be buried.
In order to mitigate corruption risks and protect the future of entrepreneurship in Africa, the following mechanisms and guidelines should be considered;
(a). Special courts should be established to monitor and review corruption cases and of conduct for government officials and different organizations in Africa, both public and private. This will ensure compliance with anti-bribery and corruption policies.
(b ). Top level commitment , the government and top level management of commercial organization must be committed to preventing bribery and set appropriate ethical tone from the top ,for example providing safe mechanism for reporting violations ,rewarding integrity e.t.c.
(c ). Encouraging people to report corrupt business people , organizations and government officials by educating people or creating awareness to people on the impact of corruption.
(d). Youths should take an active role in youth empowerment programs, that’s to say they should educate each other on the importance of moving together for a common goal, this will be helpful since it will enlighten to stand and say no to corruption and injustices in the government.
(e). As African youths, we should actively take part in governance, youths should not be of idea that government offices are only meant for the old and rich in the society, this will enable youths to get access to youth development funds and rise an alarm in case there is embezzlement of the funds.
(f). Youths should refuse to think corruptly, and understand their role as prescribed in the constitution , because this is the only way they can challenge those who tend use government resources for their own benefits
- ESTABLISHING REGIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING SCHEMES
Entrepreneurship training is a key necessity to development and growth of the entrepreneurship in Africa; it’s most important tool that can be used for changing the attitude and transfer of skills to people with entrepreneurial traits or passion.
Establishing regional entrepreneurship training schemes in every cities or regions would a very important way of protecting the future and encouraging entrepreneurship in African countries; since it will provide systematic , structured and objectivism activity that people who has potential ability would get a chance to be creatively educated or entrepreneurs would be educated to increase their skills and capabilities .
These regional entrepreneurial training schemes would lay a good foundation towards empowerment of people to overcome obstacles which might prevent them from achieving their potentials.
Furthermore its has come clear that many people see investments opportunities in Africa except Africans themselves ,the reason is because we Africans we lack knowledge of entrepreneurship, but I hope that by establishing regional entrepreneurship training schemes, will encourage acquisition of knowledge and promote entrepreneurial culture among Africans.
Regional entrepreneurship training schemes will also provide a platform for investigating the influence of grants provided by the governments or non-governmental organizations for the innovation and growth of small enterprises.
It will also examine whether entrepreneurship promotion has impact on the enhancement of the living condition.
- REWARDING PRODUCTIVE ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS
Productive entrepreneurial activities are those activities that enlarge the size of the total output for any society and they can be either innovative or replicative. Though most entrepreneurial societies are only interested in innovative entrepreneurship, because it’s commercializes new products and services.
It’s not easy for entrepreneurs or those aspiring to become entrepreneurs to come up with new business or innovative ideas and transform them into successful businesses. In Africa for example small and medium enterprises make up a particularly large part of the economy, yet very few grow into lager businesses, this is simply because of lack adequate support and motivation from our governments and other organizations.
In order to motivate and encourage entrepreneurial culture, individuals or firms that promote innovation and entrepreneurship must be rewarded and the following mechanisms can be used to facilitate this;
(a). Commercializing universities inventions.
(b). Bankruptcy protection; effective bankruptcy protection is critical to promoting entrepreneurship, since without it many entrepreneurs would be unwilling to take the risks of starting a business, knowing that if they fail they could lose everything .
(c). Access to finance; banks and other financial intermediaries like insurance companies, pension funds, should be more efficient in providing funds to investors, because the more efficient they are, the more risk that investors are likely to take with their funds, which in turn foster more investments and entrepreneurship.
(d). Avoiding onerous taxation.
(e). Proper regulation.
(f). Government support.
(g). Rewarding imitation.
- ENHANCING SECURITY AGAINST POLITICAL AND TERRORISM
Africa is faced with endless unrest, uprising and rebellion which are mostly fueled by ethnic intolerance, political and religion differences. This has greatly undermined entrepreneurship in most African countries for example Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, and has increased the cost of doing business and scared away potential investors from investing in Africa.
In order to protect the future of entrepreneurship and investments in Africa, African governments in collaboration with other security agencies, should work together to eliminate inter-community conflicts, religious and political violence and terrorism in Africa. This would lower the cost of doing business and provide a more secure living and working environment. This can be achieved through;
(a). Practicing community policing, that is reducing police to population ratio.
(b). Adopting information and communication technology (ICT) in crime detection and prevention.
(c). Enhancing police training, for example like in the case of Kenya where the Kenyan soldiers collaborate with the British army, this enhance skills acquisition in dealing with terrorism and related violence.
- ENACTING POLICIES THAT SUPPORT AND PROMOTE YOUTH AND WOMEN ENTREPNUERSHIP
The African governments, NGOs, media and other key influencers should work together in collaboration with the parliaments to enact laws/ policies which support youths and women engagement in entrepreneurship activities.
Youth and women entrepreneurship involve acquainting young people and women with the realities and opportunities of small business employment and ownership.
The promotion of youth and women entrepreneurship will be fundamental achievement of bringing back the alienated and marginalized group into the economic mainstream. It’s critical in promoting innovation and resilience as it encourages young people to find new ideas and methods of doing things through experience based on learning.
These policies can include; business development services, access to start up capital, entrepreneurship education and training, pre-investment due diligence, reinforcing commercial agreement, guarantees and insurance, among others.
- INCREASING THE VALUE OF AGRICULTURE
About 75 percent of Africa economy is agricultural dependent and this clearly indicate that investing in agricultural sector, thus increasing the value of agriculture can be a great boost to entrepreneurship in Africa, many youths will get opportunities to invest in agricultural sector like farming, coming up with processing industries and even exporting surplus to western countries. Furthermore this will also help in reducing the problem of hunger in Africa. This can be achieved by utilization of millions hectares of land that are currently uncultivated and reclamation of dry lands through irrigation. The government should also invest more money in agricultural and research institutions in order to promote development of drought resistance crops that can withstand long drought.
- PROVISION OF QUALITY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Most youths in Africa graduate from school with degrees and upon graduating unable to apply what they have learnt in school to help them better their living conditions and instead most end up on streets jobless with nothing but despair. The main cause for this is because Africa education system tends to put more emphasis on merely passing exams but very little emphasis on skills acquisition. This has greatly undermine development of entrepreneurship and utilization of available resources, since it only train youths for getting white collar jobs which is not usually the case after graduating. The education system needs to be re-oriented to make it more relevant to the challenges faced in Africa. This can be achieved through reforming secondary curriculum with more emphasis on skills acquisition and technological training. And also integrating early childhood into primary education.
- IMPROVING HEALTH SECTOR
No one can work when he or she is not health. To improve the overall livelihood of Africans, the continent should aim in providing an efficient and high quality health care system with best standards. This can be done by devolution of funds and management of health care to the remote communities and community’s medical officers, leaving the national government to deal with policy and research issues. This will shift the bias of the national health bill from curative to preventive care. Creating health insurance scheme in order to promote equality in the health care financing. Revitalize community health centers to promote preventive health care as opposed to curative intervention will also be a great a boost to health sector. Scaling up the out-put based approach system will also enable the disadvantaged groups for example the poor to access health care from preferred institutions
- INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
Infrastructure is another important key in promoting entrepreneurship development in Africa. Promoting infrastructure through firmly interconnection of networks of roads, railways, ports, airports, water and telecommunication will greatly boost entrepreneurial activities in Africa since transportation of goods and services to required destination will be easy and cheap.
Odhiambo Kevin Odhiambo
I am a 2rd year student at KISII UNIVERSITY, pursuing bachelor of business and management (banking and finance option)
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