The fall in commodity prices, dealt a huge blow to the ‘Africa rising’ narrative. SSA, had five of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2012. This today is not the story. A host of events demonstrated the lack of preparedness to grow a sustainable economy. Practically there is work to be done sector by sector, especially for entrepreneurs and SME’s. Messaging on the continent as the “New Frontier” has to be packaged and branded to replace the ‘dark continent’ and “resource curse” narratives. The discourse should be on existing opportunities, and the potential in the continent. When prescriptions for growth do not depend on commodities alone, the challenge is on how to diversify, for sustainable economic development.
[zozo_blockquote footer_text=”” position=”left” animation_type=”none” animation_delay=”500″]In Central Africa and Cameroon, there is need for “Constructive Engagement”. Local aggregates in an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, technology and finance. The opportunities in agri-business, renewables given technology, are reason for localized solutions.[/zozo_blockquote]
The question, as compared to other regions, is if enough is being done? The notion of “Sole Proprietorship” has created isolated pools and businesses that often time, collapse after the owner is no more or has problems. Partnerships and joint initiatives are seen to be too risky or not secure. Businesses need to be created as entities, and registered legally, with clearly defined conflicts of interest and non-disclosure agreements.
One of the key arguments to buttress the argument for “constructive engagement” is the over reliance of entrepreneurs on government, DFI’s, NGO’s and aid agencies. Each of these especially government, have limits because they are engine drivers and not economic operators.
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