As with other continents, small business drives many African economies. Most small businesses in the continent are informal – the informal economy accounts for as high as 60% of the GDP in some countries. Historically, this is a problem that has been there since time immemorial and is not unique to Africa. Governments have tried to regulate economies but evidence is that there always is economic activity outside of regulated structures. Informal structures are as old if not older than the more formal systems.
The problem with this is not only that businesses avoid taxes, but such informal businesses are not able to reach their full potential: cannot access formal capital; improve national competitiveness; access larger formal markets e.g. government contracts and take advantage of trade agreements; or even invest with confidence. A few of the impediments to formalised business and entrepreneurship are: the requirements to start a business; regulations in different sectors; formal education systems; and often, a lack of knowledge of what is required to successfully do business.
African Entrepreneurs’ Guide aims to help African Entrepreneurs get the information they need to start, grow and profit from their business endeavours. The guide is not a textbook but a practical book that you can use to implement something or make a decision. The Guide is a three part manual that has put together over 20 years of my working with African Entrepreneurs in the continent and the experiences of many others. It also covers input from extensive research by organisations in different sectors.
The needs for African businesses while global are unique. Africa is in a very unique time in history; there more technological advancement than the world has ever experienced, the continent has the most resources, yet, majority of its people live in poverty. The situation is such that Africa could stir itself to be the next economic giant or bury itself in an economic quagmire that would be difficult for it to emerge from. The direction the continent takes is not only dependent on its leaders but on its people, and specifically, its entrepreneurs as they contribute significantly to the direction the economies take.
The purpose of this Guide is to encourage African Entrepreneurship. Use the guide together with the website and blog which has updated information before the next edition. The information when applied should spur positive conversations and application of disciplined entrepreneurship as common knowledge in the continent just as football and in many ways politics are common conversations. My hope is that this three part guide will not only act as a manual that will help you get started on your business, grow it and profit but that it will also motivate you to acquire new skills and habits that you can transfer to the next generation of entrepreneurs for sustained continental impact.