The stories of Africans migrating to Europe by way of boat have made headlines throughout the year. While this story may be new to this news outlet, it isn’t new to Africans. There are many types of refugees that seek asylum for many different reasons, be it to find safe haven in the midst of a war or to search for a more sustainable income.
For many Africans, the move to Europe is a common one. Many people that hear of these stories wonder why certain people risk so much just to get to Europe? It’s because they no longer see any feasible economic opportunities in their country. There may not be as many jobs where they come from and they are in search of the small or medium-sized enterprises that create job opportunities. These SMEs are only brought about by entrepreneurs.
For Africa, the only way to create scalable change is through African entrepreneurs themselves. These entrepreneurs create businesses by sourcing materials from Africa and relying on African workers, ultimately injecting new revenue into the African economy. Entrepreneurs in Africa must be prepared for the challenges that this presents. Many African nations are ranked towards the lower end of the Doing Business Index put out in 2016 by the World Bank.
In Magatte Wade‘s experience as an entrepreneur, trying to open the doors of her business was a challenge. Having to cut through the red tape of working with government agencies opened her eyes to realize how Senegal wasn’t structured to support and encourage entrepreneurship.
As Magatte continued in her attempt to open her business, she encountered further problems when she needed to have her documents notarized. In Senegal, this process requires entrepreneurs to pay an attorney several hundred dollars. This is why so many informal entrepreneurs sell and buy on the street, without any legal authorization. However, in order to enact real change in the economy, entrepreneurs must create scalable businesses.
While the red tape in Africa is the reason so many entrepreneurs struggle in Africa, it is essential to work through these obstacles to help revive the economy in African nations. According to Magatte, Africa needs conscious entrepreneurs that are committed to environmental and social responsibility to create more business in Africa.
Individuals interested in philanthropy should invest in African entrepreneurs with the same sense of urgency of the migrants that pile into a boat in search of a better future. While entrepreneurs may change the structure of their economy, they cannot do it on their own.