15 January 2013

Africa: Up for Debate - What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur in Africa?

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
A market vendor in Southern Somalia.

The future of Africa and the next generation of entrepreneurs are among the many global issues being addressed this year at the World Economic Forum, to be held January 23-27.

In advance of the convening and to aid the discussion ahead, the Skoll World Forum partnered with the Financial Times' This is Africa magazine and designed a debate at the strategic intersection of Africa and entrepreneurship. We asked some of the continent's leading entrepreneurs and innovators to highlight some of the key lessons they learned working across and for Africa.

The Contributors:

Ashish J. Thakkar, founder of the Mara Group: "Global unemployment trends have headlined news coverage as of late. In particular, I follow youth unemployment trends, because they forecast the career trajectory of our future generations and the overall health and stability of the global economy." Read the full article here.

Bright Simons, president of the mPedigree Network: "The idea for the mPedigree Network began to take shape the moment I grabbed the first pack of kashi cereals I ever bought and saw an 'organic seal' on the box. The organic seal deeply intrigued me." Read the full article here.

York Zucchi, founder of York Zucchi Partners: "What is considered "known" about sub-Saharan Africa is usually assumption, often gained from news headlines. There is substantial confusion about real and perceived risks - many of the latter being down to cultural differences, which can be managed by being sensitive and aware." Read the full article here.

Taddy Blecher, CEO of the Community Individual Development Association and Maharishi Institute: "Something extraordinary is happening in Africa. In the wake of enhanced political stability and reduced war in many countries, it is clear that a vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship is kicking in with vigor." Read the full article here.

Andrew Youn, founder of the One Acre Fund: "The world theoretically ended poverty decades ago. Advances in health, financial services, and pro-poor technology have illuminated a clear development path for the poor. Unfortunately, development theory alone never fed a child...read the full article here. Read the full article here.

Lanre Akinola, editor of This Is Africa: "Few agents are as critical to an economy's success as entrepreneurs. The businesses they run are essential for innovation, private sector development and job creation, and it is a pronounced entrepreneurial spirit across Africa which is commonly cited as a reason for optimism about the continent's development potential."

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