High Schools across Africa now offer courses on Entrepreneurship to provide students with the basic knowledge of starting/running a business.
We’re all aware of the Africa narrative – war, famine, chaos, malnourished and dying children, Ebola, money scams and so on. In other words, the continent is plagued by a myriad of problems. Experts seeking solutions to these problems propose several ideas, all of which have a common theme – self-employment or entrepreneurship.
This theme of entrepreneurship, they say, could be the ticket to lifting Africa out of poverty, overcoming a high unemployment rate and tackling the continent’s developmental challenges.
Well, turns out that African leaders, at least in Nigeria and Uganda, are listening.
The Nigerian Educational and Research Development Council (NERDC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have partnered to launch an entrepreneurship curriculum in Nigerian high schools in order to equip students with basic trade and entrepreneurship skills, at the heart of which is helping young people develop a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship, business and self-employment.
The curriculum will be in line with global best practices and cover 34 different trades and it’s hoped that the project will help reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria (reported at 13.9% in Q3 2016).
Nigeria isn’t alone in its sentiment. Uganda feels the same way, so much so that in addition to fostering entrepreneurship in high schools, the East African country is also offering an entrepreneurship course in colleges.
This foray into entrepreneurship is driven by the collapse of the commodity boom (think oil in Nigeria), which led to the collapse of the economies of several African countries, a collapse that pushed countries and their citizens to find alternative ways to survive and to also diversify said economies.
Given entrepreneurship’s potential as a catalyst for change, it became increasingly viewed as a key to economic growth. With a majority of African nations diversifying from traditional sources of income, the dawning realization and acceptance were that the public and private sector couldn’t do it alone – create enough jobs, that is.
Therefore, individuals must step up and play their part in job creation, employment opportunities and economic growth, with entrepreneurship being seen as the means to accomplish these.
Thus across the continent, African leaders are increasingly viewing entrepreneurship as one of the key ingredients needed to address youth unemployment in Africa, the region with the youngest population in the world. With several countries showing a high rate of unemployment (some as high as 60%), entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job creation tools for the continent and a necessary ingredient for stimulating economic growth and leapfrogging Africa into the 21
With several countries showing a high rate of unemployment (some as high as 60%), entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job creation tools for the continent and a necessary ingredient for stimulating economic growth and leapfrogging Africa into the 21st century.
As technological innovation reaches its peak with the cloud, open source software and cheap computing services at our fingertips, it provides the right atmosphere for entrepreneurship to take center stage. This coming together of several factors is redesigning Africa – from its curriculum to its landscape – and helping African economies transform through the sheer drive of their entrepreneurs.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, more efforts are being made to promote business and entrepreneurship and to also increase understanding of their contribution to public affairs and social issues. These efforts have given rise to tech hubs, space where ideas grow and companies are nurtured, which are producing some of the continent’s most promising and innovative solutions. For instance,
For instance, drones are being uniquely adapted to the continent’s transportation and logistics issues, apps are being built specifically for navigation within Africa given the continent’s poor urban planning and lack of defined addresses.
Mobile phones are being adapted for remote medical consultations and health exams and solar power (which Africa has in abundance) is being leveraged to power planes, vehicles and homes bypassing the need for more harmful sources of fuel and creating more stable power.
These solutions further reinforce the perception that entrepreneurship can help solve some of the continent’s social problems that undermine progress and these solutions are expected to endure the test of time because they’re tailored to Africa’s unique needs and the environment.
These products and services demonstrate creativity and show promise for an era of entrepreneurship anchored by local innovation; ideas that could be applicable to foreign markets with a bit of tweaking to suit the uniqueness of the foreign terrain.
So far, entrepreneurship has yielded huge returns for entrepreneurs and the recipients of their creative solutions, and according to experts, there’s still untapped potential in this sector to propel the continent into its next phase of development.
Therefore to explore all that entrepreneurship has to offer towards Africa’s future, African leaders are looking to advance business and entrepreneurship on the continent in more of a broad and inclusive sense by embedding it into the fabric of our learning institutions.
By working with young Africans to create and nurture a culture of self-employment, innovation and creativity, we can hopefully address some of the continent’s key developmental challenges. And with a focus on fostering the development of skills necessary to unlock their potential, perhaps we can shape and paint a new Africa.
Chart Image Credit: CNN