By Joel Montgomery (International Expansion)
The world is finally waking up to the fact that Africa is on the move.
A recent Wall Street Journal article, “A Continent of New Consumers Beckons,” highlights this movement forward, but also cautions that “Africa’s most promising opportunities won’t be found in its new shopping malls but beneath its soil and sea beds.”
I couldn’t disagree more. A recent McKinsey Global Institute study found that only 24% of Africa’s growth resulted from the Resources sector. While Africa is blessed with abundant natural resources, in my view her greatest asset is her people.
During my frequent trips to Africa I have come into contact with a new generation of African professionals. These new African leaders break all the rules. They don’t care about your family name, the university you attended, or even what tribe you’re from. They do not seek power derived from political connections, but rather that which comes from true business innovation. It is on the backs of this new entrepreneurial generation that Africa can change the perception of starving children from the 80s with the tech clusters currently sprouting up all over the continent.
Alan McCormick, a Managing Director at the global investment group Legatum, recently wrote a Forbes article entitled “In Entrepreneurship We Trust.” In it, he states that “the world’s most prosperous countries are those that establish, nurture, and protect their entrepreneurial environments.”
Entrepreneurship’s effect is even more palpable in the developing world. As U.S. President Obama stated in his speech at the 2010 Summit on Entrepreneurship, “Entrepreneurship [is vital] because throughout history, the market has been the most powerful force the world has ever known for creating opportunity and lifting people out of poverty.”
Endeavor remains committed to identifying and supporting Africa’s newest generation of High Impact Entrepreneurs. For over 13 years, we have helped entrepreneurs from Brazil to Mexico and Turkey to South Africa to plug into the global entrepreneurial engine. African innovations can and will compete on the global scene, but in order to do so, they need this help to scale their businesses more quickly.