According to the World Bank, by 2050 Africa will have the second largest population in the world with 30% or more being between the ages of 10 to 24. For the pessimist, this number can be seen as an economical nightmare for Africa. However, for the optimist as most Africans are this number can be seen as a huge advantage for Africa. As of today, Africa has 7 out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. Driven by the Cheetah generation as mentioned by George Ayitteh, the new generation of Africa is entrepreneurially driven to make changes for themselves. With a new mindset of the youngest population of the world, we can see the birth of the new economically sane Africa driving by:
If we were in the early 2000s, I would have told you that 90% of Africans are seating and waiting for the government to create jobs for them. However, in today’s environment we can see the opposite is happening. Most Africans are taking matter in their own hands by creating enterprises that not only benefit them but also create jobs for the members of their community. From Senegal to Kenya, the continent is literally buzzing with entrepreneurship.
The following graph shows the 10 countries with the highest early startups with Nigeria and Zambia leading with almost 40%.
Africa also leads the world with Women starting businesses with Nigeria and Zambia leading with 40.7% compare to countries like the US 10.4% and the UK 5.5%.
We can see the growth in entrepreneurship mentality which is quite contagious among the African youth; however, this mindset requires a strong ecosystem to support and nurture sustainable businesses. Indeed, that’s where the cheetah generation of new leaders comes into play.
According to George Ayittey, a Ghanaian professor, the Cheetah generation is the new generation of makers, doers, inventors, venture capitalist, bloggers, and most importantly policy makers. As Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership University also mentioned the previous leaders or policy makers are the ones who put Africa backward with endless wars, famine, poverty etc.. However, with a new generation of policy makers or leaders, we’ll see a complete change of policies that will finally nurture an ecosystem that support entrepreneurs. Today we can see the examples of leaders such as Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, going the extra mile to meet with entrepreneurs and finding out ways to add value. Rwanda has achieved significant improvements specifically in the service industry ranked 2nd in the world in credit financing and now 4th globally on registration of property. In Africa, Rwanda is ranked the 2nd easiest place to do business coming 7 positions closer to Mauritius, ranking on the first spot in Africa and 49th globally. Indeed, Rwanda is a perfect example of how Leaders of today are running away from corruption in order to create environment that nurture economic growth.
As I mentioned before, Africa has 7 out of the 10 fastest growing economies with Ivory Coast and Tanzania growing at a rate of 10% or more. Certainly, it’s only the beginning of the new economic revolution of Africa as more leaders sees the opportunity to do good and help their population we can see more innovative companies getting created which will eventually create jobs and build a strong middle class. So get ready world, Africa is coming out of the dark.