Jean-Michel Severino, President of Investors & Partners, Patrick Guillaumont, President of Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI), and Sidi Khalifou, President of the African Entrepreneurs Club, discuss the issues that led these three institutions to join forces to launch a blog dedicated to African entrepreneurship.
African growth has been generally strong since the beginning of the century. The first 15 years were characterized by high growth rates, resulting from the continent’s demographic transformations, changes in economic policies, debt relief in prior years and favourable terms of trade. Since 2015, the continent’s performance has been less positive, mainly due to the fall in commodity and oil prices, despite its recent upturn. The security and political situation remains uncertain in many countries. The macroeconomic landscape is also overshadowed by a rise in public debt. In this context, the continent appear more and more diversified, with countries in serious social and political crisis, countries in deep structural adjustment and countries with high growth rates…
But regardless of macroeconomic performance and despite an improvement of many social indicators (education, mortality, morbidity…), the well-being of African populations has not been sufficiently improved. Inequalities have increased significantly. At current growth rates, if the poverty rate can be lowered, the absolute number of poor will still continue to grow. In addition, the economy is not sufficiently diversified and its productivity has only marginally increased: the pace and sustainability of economic growth remain fragile. We are nonetheless witnessing a powerful entrepreneurial boom, resulting from transformations in internal markets, higher levels of education, and better policies.
Accelerating this entrepreneurial expansion is fundamental to the sustainability of African growth.
The African economic fabric is progressively developing. Serving the domestic market created by the continent’s population growth requires new generations of businesses to provide the goods and services needed locally. This expansion is essential to create the 450 million jobs needed to absorb the growing number of workers by 2050. It is also fundamental to social performance: without skilled jobs, there is little chance that most of the population will have access to decent levels of health and education. Start-ups and SMEs will have to create the majority of these formal jobs. Environmental sustainability is also at stake: companies will have to control pollution, waste, carbon emissions and impacts on biodiversity to ensure the sustainability of African growth and the well-being of the population. The quality of the economic fabric will also have an impact on good governance, the level of taxation and the state of democracy on the continent.
It is in view of such challenges that Ferdi, I&P and the African Club of Entrepreneurs are jointly launching this blog dedicated to African entrepreneurship.
The blog has several key objectives:
- Ensuring that African entrepreneurship is acknowledged as a priority for the development of the continent and providing food for thought for governments and international and private institutions, including large companies and banks: promoting the entrepreneurial fabric is not just a public responsibility.
- Learn about and understand this subject by consulting all the stakeholders, starting with the entrepreneurs themselves.
- Stimulate and highlight public or private initiatives to promote responsible African entrepreneurship
- Encourage exchanges and discussions between entrepreneurs to improve the strategy and management of their companies.
The blog will do all this by combining experience and research, testimony and analysis, direct exchanges and discussion papers. This unique combination of practice and research, on a constantly evolving subject, will allow different points of view to be shared and discussed. It will inform and interest the searcher as well as the entrepreneur operating its company
This blog on an enterprising Africa is therefore also a company, an innovative start-up that will find its way, with the contributions of all.