Written by Akachi Obijiaku.
Despite Africa’s reputation as the world’s next economic frontier, the continent’s expansion has created insufficient jobs and the high unemployment rates pose threats for the next generation. This points to a greater need for entrepreneurship education in Africa.
University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship predicts that over 600 million jobs need to be created by 2020 just to keep employment levels the same in the developing world; in sub-Saharan Africa alone, long-term unemployment among youth is estimated to be 48%.
To foster an entrepreneurial culture, effective entrepreneurial education among youth is much needed. Indeed, several studies have shown that specialized education directed toward entrepreneurship is a strong motivator that can engender a startup mentality among students. Such education can equip African youth with the knowledge needed to be self-reliant and manage SMEs, creating jobs and boosting economic growth in the process.
Education and business creation
Education and business creation are positively correlated. However, entrepreneurship education, whilst high on countries’ agendas, remains in its infancy in Africa. For example, the government of Lagos state (Nigeria’s former capital city) just recently announced plans to commence a three-month training initiative, ‘Ready. Set. Work’. Its aim is to develop graduates that can generate employment for themselves and others. This initiative, however, has limited reach, as students will be selected from only six tertiary institutions.
As most academic programs in universities follow traditional educational models and focus on training students toward becoming employees, there is little incentive to develop skills suited to individuals who intend on starting their own ventures. This attitude toward entrepreneurship within the tertiary schooling environment further contributes to the hardships faced by youth-owned businesses in local communities.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are one method with which African governments (such as the Nigerian government) aim to improve entrepreneurial education in schools, and currently, a Public-Private Partnership Initiative forms part of the country’s 2020 agenda to work collaboratively with the private sector in order to correct the nationwide problem of inadequate education. Still, there remain significant gaps in assistance across many regions. For example, the Education Sector Support Programme In Nigeria (ESSPIN), partly funded by the Department for International Development, will end this year, after nine years of operating in the region. Hence, more attention is needed in this area if Nigeria’s — and, indeed, other countries’ — development goals are to be met.
Capital Finder for entrepreneurs
AlliedCrowds’s Capital Finder aims to aggregate relevant information in a comprehensive manner and helping governments and international development organizations work together in achieving their goal of facilitating SME finance. Furthermore, AlliedCrowds offers an Entrepreneur Hub and this can act as a toolkit for budding entrepreneurs in emerging markets such as Africa who, typically, do not have adequate access to formal training in entrepreneurship. To find out more, visit the Capital Finder.