Africa’s economy is driven by a multitude of informal sectors, multi-nationals and state-owned entitites. Historically, very little attention has been paid to small businesses, yet small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now recognised as one of the key drivers of innovation, growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation on the continent.
Authorities agree that entrepreneurship – underpinned by innovative ideas, business solutions and financial support from governments – are central to increasing the participation of SMEs in growing the economy. Governments have an important role to play: they must recognise the urgency to create mainstream industries and should endeavour to make it as easy as possible for SMEs to establish and regulate themselves, and to grow.
AUDA-NEPAD, the development agency of the African Union (AU), also believes that the development of entrepreneurship and job creation are key drivers for sustainable, economic growth in Africa.
The overarching driver of this agenda is collaboration between governments, corporate social responsibility (CSR) role players and the private sector, allowing for the delivery of commercially viable ideas and business-support services to communities. Integration into the value chains of larger companies should also be prioritised.