VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA: Entrepreneurship for Development ~ Peter Yakobe
Every year, over 2 million people graduate from universities in Africa. Most of them come out with the mind of going out to get a job. Since many people graduate with the only mind of getting a job, they do not become more creative to start enterprises. But I would like to appeal to my fellow graduates or those to graduate soon to be entrepreneurs for the economic development; they should start operating businesses other than just looking for employment. Entrepreneurship creates jobs. When people start companies or businesses, they employ people either to run or participate in the day to day running of the business. They employ secretaries, managers, accountants and many other positions depending on the nature of the business. This means that it creates a chance for those who have gone under different trainings to put it into practise. Entrepreneurship enables managers to practice their managerial skills, secretaries to put into practise their secretarial skills. At the end, it increases the number of those who are employed. When more people are employed, they get money to feed their families and send their children to school. The employed that are being paid help their families and their communities with their money they are paid. Then even the relatives of the employed person benefit from him/her in many ways. When people are employed, they learn skills which they use to improve their communities. For instance, a person who has been employed to dig will use the skills he has learned at his work place to dig in his farm and produce a lot of harvests. On the other hand, entrepreneurship helps in impacting the skills to different people which they use afterwards to create wealth for themselves. We need to be job creators and not job seekers, and in the long run the unemployment rate will fall in Africa. Secondly, entrepreneurship brings in foreign currency. When people open up productive businesses, they produce a lot of things more than what they need and they export a lot. As they export, they get foreign currency since foreign trade is not done using local currencies. When the country has enough foreign currency, it can use it to purchase basic needs and other items from abroad. Most of the problems our African countries face are due to lack of foreign currency. We always need foreign currency to purchase basic needs like medicine, fuel and many other things. For businesses to succeed in their operations with foreign firms, they always need foreign currency to make transactions. If many people can start operating businesses, and export a lot, we will have enough foreign currency in our countries. Corporations will be able to purchase better agricultural equipments from abroad and this will improve our agricultural sector. We will be able to purchase proper medical equipments and this will lead to strong productive nations. Even the local people will be able to purchase their own things from abroad and even pay school fees for their children who could also be studying abroad. Finally, entrepreneurship brings an easy access to products and services. When people open up businesses and are producing many products, they bring near the products and services which were far. The products which were even being imported become closer to the people. This makes the work of people convenient and they do everything very fast. Instead of waiting for days, weeks or even months to receive a product from abroad, people buy the product from within their country. Many things become easy and they do not spend a lot of money importing products because they make them within their country. Therefore, my fellow Africans, we need to become entrepreneurs for the economic development of our continent. Entrepreneurship will create a lot of jobs; bring foreign currency and easy access to goods and services. We need to be creative enough and make things happen other than just talking them on paper. It is time to do the work and the walk. Just imagine how many people will be employed if all these 2,000,000 graduates could invest and start-up businesses? A tough ask that. Do you think African countries would lack foreign currency to purchase basic needs and machines from other countries were this to be so? Just like professor George Ayittey said, “We need to be cheetahs and not hippos.” There is a need of Africans who are fast in their thinking and actions. We should always be thinking of how to make money, how to make our businesses successful and help our countries to move forward.
Peter Yakobe, a young boy, wrote in from Uganda