Making creativity a job engine for rural Africa: Panel discussion highlights role of young entrepreneurs
This article in the Rural21 Journal describes main messages of a panel discussion with the topic, “Jobs, jobs, jobs – Innovation and young entrepreneurship in rural Africa” in Bonn on 27 March. One of the important challenge for Africa will be to make the rural economy a place of opportunity for the young. According to the young Africans who attended the discussion, one of the reasons that this is not yet happening is the lack of investment. Investors and NGOs are reluctant to invest in new ventures or new ideas. Panellist Nana Amponsah’s general advice to young entrepreneurs was to seize the initiative and build networks rather than wait for a big loan or rely on donors. There were, she said, creative ways of getting started and raising finance as a business expands. Whether the appeal to entrepreneurial initiative and creativity can meet the enormous employment and developmental challenge facing rural Africa remains to be seen. However, steps also have to be taken by governments and international agencies to effect major change. The overall message that came out of the discussion is that the young must be enabled to make the “population dividend” count, to ensure young people across the continent become job creators.