Work .

Entrepreneurship .

By Isabel dos Santos .

To be an entrepreneur in Africa

Entrepreneurship in Africa is becoming more and more vibrant. Yesterday we didn’t even recognise the faces or names of the African entrepreneurs. They are now familiar faces that are recognised around the world and have become a model to follow. I believe that success creates success and many more Africans will end up joining this great family.

Africa has the greatest proportion of adults beginning or managing new companies in the world. Our business people are among the youngest compared with other developing regions. African women are the ones who are opening and expanding most businesses, even in comparison with women in the industrialised countries, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor said. These signs are quite encouraging and reveal the strength of Africans and their huge desire to make, build and add value.

Entrepreneurship is reaching a new level, thanks also to innovation and technology. Today there is a whole new generation of “high-tech entrepreneurs”, who incorporate new technology in innovative products, in financial services, means of payment and even in agriculture. Technology is part of their DNA and it is perfectly natural that they bring this to the business world.

Entrepreneurs in the diaspora also give a precious boost to this transformation movement. Many of them return to their home countries to set up new companies or to invest in start-ups. They bring back a real culture of enterprise that is contagious. They know the international markets well and stimulate a global vision of business.

Entrepreneurship in Africa is gaining momentum thanks also to a new generation of African youths who are better and better qualified. The OECD estimates that 29 million youths are going to enter the labour market every year in Africa until 2030. This is why it is so important to encourage entrepreneurial culture in our countries and to take care of this huge potential that is emerging. So the young entrepreneurs are a finely tuned piece of the engine that can transform the entire continent.