Entrepreneurship will help eradicate poverty in Africa

Posted on August 5, 2013 06:37 am

After yesterday’s viewing of what I can describe as one of the most unaffordable facility in Africa, there is no argument growth of the middle class across the continent is becoming one of Africa’s better stories. The influx of multinationals entering Africa in droves in the hope of tapping the continent’s hugely expansive markets in infrastructure, agriculture, property, transport among many others. A couple of people I have spoken recently echo what many others have been saying about the rapidly expanding Africa’s middle class. According to World Bank and other reputable international institutions statistics, there are estimated some 300 million people equivalent to a third of Africa’s total population. On average, each of these 300 million people are spending an average of $150 a month, while around 50 million middle upper class are said to spend even more than $400 monthly. Recently released IMF data shows that the middle class is expected to grow to 500 million by 2020. That growth would definitely create the stage for sustained strong economic growth over the next one and half decade. Apart from civil war stricken countries like DR Congo, Mali, Somalia as well Arab spring hangover that continues to bedevil Arab spring countries like Egypt, Libya and mildly Tunisia, the middle class growth has seen the enormous poverty stricken population fall considerably.

Aerial view of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital
Aerial view of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital:Photo by Ville Makinnen

However, I think there are different sides in Africa. As research studies of countries like Botswana and Mauritius have shown, the key to people moving from poverty to affluence is the availability of quality jobs. In Mauritius for example, people have jobs, they can feed their family same as Botswana where the locals can send their children to quality school spread all over the country and just like Mauritians, they have managed to raise their living standards. Majority of the current generation of African leadership has been highly successful in reducing poverty compared to their predecessors. Over the past ten years, a good number of African countries have managed to improve the lives of some 200 million people, reducing the poverty rate among the population. Multiple independent firms and non governmental organizations have projected that over the next seven years, another 100 million people could be lifted out of poverty through empowering regional economic cooperation like SADC,EAC and ECOWAS, boosting entrepreneurship and creating more jobs for the young educated population. In my opinion, I think this is where both the government and the private sector can work together. In western world, quality jobs provide dignity and a sense of fulfillment. The same can be duplicated in Africa where economic transformation is providing such jobs. The more Africans join the middle class, the more they will establish companies that will hire workers. And that’s why entrepreneurship is the best way for the continent to reduce poverty in a sustainable and meaningful manner.

Contador Harrison