New Centre Targets Elevating Africa’s Entrepreneurship

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) have jointly launched Centres of Entrepreneurship in Africa (CEA).

With strategic locations across Africa, the ECA – ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship will work with various stakeholders, including businesses, chambers of commerce, academic institutions, intergovernmental and governmental agencies, to connect local entrepreneurs to global markets and enhance regulatory conditions for SMEs to thrive.

The entrepreneurship centres will develop the skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects to mentoring local start-ups and entrepreneurs. The centres are expected to develop the next generation of African business leaders.

“the launch of the Centres of Entrepreneurship comes at the right time when Africa is trying to bounce back better from the effects of Covid-19. We believe that these Centres, based in different regions of the continent, and with tailored-made solutions, can mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurship in Africa,” said Oliver Chinganya, Director of the Africa Centre for Statistics at the ECA.

The Centres will provide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the tools and pathways to expand their business and play an effective role in the goods and services supply chain. They will also provide pathways to accelerate women and youth empowerment a necessary action to accelerate Africa’s growth and recovery from the pandemic, according to the director.

ECA data shows that MSMEs, often women and youth-owned, account for approximately 98pct of all firms and 60pct of private sector employment in African countries. They are a fundamental part of the economic fabric of African economies. The youngest and smallest SMEs contribute to 22pct of net job creation on the continent.

Africa has the highest rate of new business creation, and that youth on the continent are 1.6 times more likely to be entrepreneurs, addressing challenges of high youth under- and unemployment. “They play a critical role in supply chains, cross-border trade, and therefore food security on the continent,” added Chinganya.

Repurposing MSMES digitization and innovation, is expected to play crucial role in Africa’s next growth trajectory.

ECA estimates show that the potential of the digital economy in the next 20-30 years could be USD47trillion, 20 times the GDP of all of Africa today. With a population of 1.3 billion, Africa has the world’s youngest population, with 70pct under the age of 24 and more than 750 million under the age of 35.

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