In Africa, our governments have proved beyond all reasonable doubts that they are bad managers of our economy. They cannot create jobs. They sometimes give credence to the notion that “it is not the business of government to do business.” I don’t agree with that. Government can do business. But in Africa, it’s a different story.
In places like the Middle East and the emerging countries in Asia, governments have been central to the creating of employments for their citizens. Although most of these governments aren’t democratically elected, they’ve been the key to ensuring that their young people get jobs to do. Unfortunately we cannot say the same thing in Africa. Our governments have been corrupt and inefficient. We have some of the largest deposits of natural resources in the world yet we are the poorest of people anywhere in the world. Bad leadership and poor governance have contributed to this over the years. But the youth must not give up hope. We can be entrepreneurial!
This is the time for us to churn out more entrepreneurs. We need more entrepreneurs and business leaders in Africa than anywhere in the world. This is simple: we have more problems and challenges in Africa than anywhere else. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. How do we get more entrepreneurs in Africa?
First of all, we must get more young people to take up the entrepreneurship challenge. Of course it is not going to be easy. It is more difficult to be an entrepreneur in Africa than anywhere else. But we still have to take up the challenge. It may take us more than 50 years to build a successful business. But when we do so, we will create jobs and reduce poverty.
Secondly, as young entrepreneurs, we must come together as a network to force our policy makers to act in our best interest. We have a very strong case to present to our duty bearers. We create jobs and we reduce poverty. We must push our governments to create more incentives especially in the areas of raising of capital for small businesses.
Thirdly, young entrepreneurs must be ready to work for the long haul. Entrepreneurship is not a short distance race. It is a marathon! We must prepare our minds and souls for this journey. Young people shouldn’t deceive themselves that starting your own business will make you rich overnight. In fact the odds are against your business from succeeding. However, with the right mentality and education, you can make it!
As a young person, I tried starting a small business. I didn’t get a lot of things right. I made mistakes and learned from them. I took some break to get some further education. I’m almost done, insha Allah. But my education in entrepreneurship is a life-long journey. I read books and listen to entrepreneurs, both young and old.
If you’re a young man or woman, I would like to recommend these five books for you. It’s not just about entrepreneurship; it’s also about leadership and financial education:
1. RICH DAD POOR DAD: WHAT THE RICH TEACH THEIR KIDS ABOUT MONEY – THAT THE POOR AND THE MIDDLE CLASS DO NOT! By Robert Kiyosaki
2. MIDAS TOUCH: WHY SOME ENTREPRENEURS GET RICH – AND WHY MOST DON’T by Donald Trump and Kiyosaki
3. UNFAIR ADVANTAGE: WHAT SCHOOLS WILL NEVER TEACH YOU ABOUT MONEY by Robert Kiyosaki
4. THINK LIKE A CHAMPION: AN INFORMAL EDUCATION IN BUSINESS AND LIFE by Donald Trump
5. LIKE A VIRGIN: SECRETS THEY WON’T TEACH YOU AT BUSINESS SCHOOL by Richard Branson
Self-education is the most powerful weapon of every entrepreneur, especially a young entrepreneur without experience and capital!
Consider becoming a young entrepreneur!
The author is a student at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy at the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. He is an entrepreneur & a blogger at http://mahmoudjajah .com