Contextualizing Africapitalism: Why African Youth must take Ownership*

Che Azenyui Bruno

Africa is the World’s second largest continent in terms of population and the “youngest continent on earth” as more than 60% of its population is below the age of 25. This relatively young and active demographic of the continent present a veritable opportunity for investment in the creation of startup enterprises and social ventures in the continent.  

While external and third-party investment is crucial for the economic transformation of the African continent, it still stands obvious that the task of jump-starting development, accelerating growth and catalyzing economic transformation in Africa lies primarily and largely with the continent’s young people and our ability to take ownership of the narrative on Africa is also dependent on our readiness to redefine and reimagine growth in the continent and our willingness to learn, grow, take risk and bring alive the innovative ideas needed to reposition Africa on the global map.

As founder of one of Africa’s most promising social enterprise ventures, I have come to discover first-hand the amazing potential that the continent’s natural and human resources present in terms of opportunities for job creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation and I make bold to agree with the proponent of Africapitalism and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu that there is no better time than now to be and become an entrepreneur in Africa.

For one thing, the continent’s rating in terms of ease of doing business is taking an upward trajectory, corruption and financial mismanagement in the continent are going down, political stability is fast becoming the new normal in most parts of the continent, literacy levels are increasing by the day, more and more of us African youth are finding our way into the internet of things. Power supply is fast stabilizing on the continent and most important of all, opportunities for funding and support are becoming more available for the continent’s change-makers today than ever before. All of these go a long way to establish the favorable ecosystem that makes social entrepreneurship the next big thing in Africa today.

Yet, our governments, policy makers and angel investors have a crucial role to play in improving on the enabling environment, providing the much-needed seed funding and capacity building required to jumpstart job growth and accelerate development in Africa. The continent’s young people need to avail ourselves of the available opportunities, rise up to the challenges of an ever evolving world of work and establish Africa on the global market.

It goes therefore without saying that the challenge of entrepreneurship today lies more with us, the pride of Africa: the youth. The ball clearly is in our court and the decision to transform Africa now and in the future is ours to make.

Our ability to dare, to dream and to dive in remains a major ingredient for economic transformation in Africa. All successful ventures require an abundant amount of self-confidence, the ability to rise after a setback and a conscious effort to learn, innovate, adapt and embrace circumstances. Flexibility, therefore, becomes a crucial soft skill required for success in entrepreneurship in Africa and the most promising of all the news about entrepreneurship in Africa today is the availability of opportunities of mentorship and learning. If Africa today must take ownership of the fourth industrial revolution, it has to be through youth activity and ability to take ownership of Africapitalism on the continent, seize the amazing opportunities the continent presents and digitalize social entrepreneurship on the continent for job creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation.

*First published in The African Entrepreneur Digest, July 2nd 2020

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