Entrepreneurship is the ability to develop, organize and run a business to make a profit while managing its uncertainties. In some African countries where the unemployment is high, the people have no choice but to start small businesses to provide for themselves and their families. Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the number of projects carried out in Africa. Africa has been at the centre of attention and has been labelled as a continent of growth and vast opportunities. However, a lot of challenges lie ahead.

These include:

  1. the creation of jobs for the continent’s population size
  2. provision of funds for projects
  3. lack of infrastructure
  4. skills training
  5. develop innovations in agriculture
  6. poor healthcare
  7. little or poor Government support

The solution to these challenges is the creation and building of home-grown business leaders that would acquire the skills to drive growth for their respective economies. Therefore, Entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to its future prosperity.

The bee production project by the Mbeka Foundation under the Semlex for Education portfolio is paving the way for entrepreneurs in Congo. With the acquiring of the equipment to grow beehives, the locals are trained on the extraction of the honey. They also further train other persons to carry out further projects in this area.

According to the African Development Bank’s 2014 report, the youth unemployment in Uganda is estimated to be 83% which is one of the highest in Africa. Uganda has however made significant changes to its education system to include entrepreneurship as one of the core subjects being taught at the secondary schools and at the college level. Also, with the help of the private sector and development agencies, the Government of Uganda has been able to launch successful startups through their technological innovation hubs.

Another study carried out by Brookings Institution, which is a Washington DC-based think tank, found that African youths between the ages of 15-24 constitute to about 37% of the working age population. However, this same age group accounts for about 60% of jobless people in Africa.

There have been many summits held across Africa to foster entrepreneurship. One of the important ones, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) which was held in July 2015 in Kenya and attended by US President Barack Obama included entrepreneurs from over 100 countries and various groups of American investors. The message remained the same, which is entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking the youth unemployment in Africa. Although the Government in Kenya had created the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and Uwezo Fund to support youth entrepreneurship, budgetary constraints limited their impact.


Facing challenges is the key to success

For entrepreneurship to strongly impact Africa’s economy, Governments must tackle some of the greatest challenges that is hampering its progress. These include the lack of funds, relevant mentorship, and poor government policies. In addition, African Governments should consider giving the private sector incentives through tax relief in order to expand job creation. The laws and regulations need to be revised in the favour of entrepreneurs.

One of the main challenges in these African nations was to change the mindset of the young people to think like employers. Some African Governments have created opportunities in terms of finance and access to markets. For example, in Cameroon the Government is organizing robust skill acquisition and training programmes for entrepreneurs and making credit facility easily accessible to people with innovative technological and business ideas.

The economic condition today presents opportunities to local companies to price their goods and services without direct consideration of the stock market. Since commercial banks have been cutting costs to become more innovative, these African entrepreneurs will play major roles in redesigning business models in a period of currency controls, currency devaluations, and Government stasis.

Companies that open sales offices in Africa without design or research centers have been challenged by African entrepreneurs.  Most Governments have since stopped international training and importation of certain products and are encouraging the population to buy local. Increasingly, African companies are moving away from acquiring foreign software because it is difficult to find the money to pay for them.


In Belgium for example, the Mbeka Foundation and B2Help which is supported by Semlex for Education , are non-profit organizations that are creating and sustaining entrepreneurships projects in Africa.

If there are other projects that you would like to share with us, please do not hesitate to contact us!


Written by Bhoomattee Surujdin for Semlex for Education.


[1] Wiebe Boer, Why Entrepreneurship is key to Africa’s Development-Tony Elumelu FoundationS Published on 2015-02-09.

[2] Obonyo, Raphael , Africa looks to its entrepreneurs-A useful strategy in the toolbox to reduce youth unemployment Published by Africa Renewal April 2016

[3] Ekekwe, Ndubuisi -Why African Entrepreneurship Is Booming Published on July 11, 2016

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