Development experts on Wednesday expressed concern about low levels of entrepreneurship in Africa, which has limited the potential for industries and manufacturing to flourish on the continent.
They were speaking at the African Entrepreneurship Policy Forum, which aimed at exploring innovative private sector approaches and best practices in implementing entrepreneurship policies in Africa.
Entrepreneurship as key enabler to inclusive growth, sustainable development and the overall objectives of the African Union 2063 Agenda, said the experts as the forum kicked off on Wednesday in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
Rwanda hosts the forum from Dec. 13 to 14 that is expected to enhance the current role of the African Union and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on entrepreneurship promotion and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development on the continent.
“Africa is taking long to realize the potential of entrepreneurship. We have to do more to harness the entrepreneurial drive on the continent,” said Parminder Vir, chief executive officer of Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Developed countries in Europe, America and Asia consider entrepreneurship as an engine of social and economic development, she said.
She noted that there is a huge desire to embrace entrepreneurial spirit as pillar for strong and unshakable economic and social transformation of Africa.
Fode Ndiaye, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Development Program in Rwanda, told the meeting that boosting an entrepreneurial culture and supporting SMEs businesses hold the key to future success of Africa.
“The private sector in most African countries is fragmented with a low density of economic activity. We should focus more on opportunity-based entrepreneurship if the continent was to be competitive globally in terms of manufacturing and industrial growth,” he said.
Leaders and policy makers in Africa should aim to create enabling environments to foster entrepreneurship throughout the continent, according to Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of Rwanda Development Board.
The two-day meeting has brought together development experts, economists and government officials across Africa to discuss spearheading sustainable development on the continent through fostering entrepreneurship. Enditem