Necessity versus Opportunity
Africa’s relationship to Entrepreneurship
Over the past few weeks, I have been exploring the world of entrepreneurship, attending various events where accelerators gather, joining breakfasts for entrepreneurial-minded individuals, and participating in debates on the subject. Throughout this journey, I have been focusing on funding opportunities, education, and mindset shifts that ultimately lead to the creation of successful businesses.
An opinion piece that caught my attention was one by Adam Molai entitled "Africa lacks the right kind of entrepreneurs," along with the paper "Jobs, Economic Growth and Capacity Development for Youth in Africa," both of which form the basis of my thoughts today.
With the world at 8 billion persons as of 15th November 2022, Africa remains one of the poorest continents on the globe, despite the fact that it will account for 2 out of 5 working-age individuals by the end of the 21st century. The peculiar part of this statement is the quality and purposes with which we build our ventures within the African economic zones.
The crux? Was this business built out of a pure innovative spirit - to create what once was not - or was it a means to an end?
Returning to the population question, with a 245.0% increase in population within the working age group, we expect a rise in the number of graduates and professionals alike. All this while, the market is not primed to absorb this number of individuals. If anything, the tech lay-offs that have happened over the last couple of months have been a testament to what happens when projects fail and companies are bloated.
Was this business built out of a pure innovative spirit - to create what once was not - or was it a means to an end?
This raises the question, what does this mean for education?
Having been brought up in an African household and in relation to how we raise this generation of dreamers and builders alike, provided we exist in the space where entrepreneurship is treated as a ‘side-hustle’ for those incapable of being absorbed into the job market, we cease to create foundations upon which the future can stand.
The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. - Peter Thiel (Zero To One)
It is high time we create sustainable solutions that navigate from bringing in the everyday meal to those that impart beyond sustenance. To leave you something to nibble and ponder, here is an article from TechCabal about tech talent navigating its way back to Africa.
Perhaps the danger of Artificial Intelligence is not in it taking away employment ( unless you champion for bullshit jobs) but that with the increased use of the same technology, AI relearns from itself and other old content rather than what is made a-new. The limit remains; Artificial Intelligence will only learn from what already exists.