COMING SOON: SEEDING GROWTH: AFRICA’S YOUNGEST ENTREPRENEURS
Having been raised in one of the poorest regions in the world, I strongly desire to help my people who continue to suffer “the consequences of economic failure every day of their lives,” as Dambiso Moyo so eloquently articulated in Dead Aid. Like Moyo, I have pondered the question of development and wondered, while other emerging regions have achieved economic prosperity, why my continent has struggled (historically). Many reasons have been offered to account for this failure: some have emphasized the trade and transportation obstacles that Africa’s landlocked countries face; structuralists have blamed the historical legacies of colonialism; and others insist that Africa simply lacks effective and visionary leadership.
The answer probably lies in some combination. Personally, we cannot change Africa’s geography, and we are powerless to alter her past. However, we can develop ourselves to be effective and visionary leaders who can make a difference in her future. I grew up in Ghana, thinking I could understand and change my world through humanitarian activism. I volunteered at refugee camps at age five, led environmental campaigns at age twelve, and even founded my first non-profit at age sixteen. Though I remain committed to service, I grew disillusioned with my goal to help Africa through conventional activism. I now share Thomas Friedman’s creed that “Africa needs less foundations, and more entrepreneurs.”
The key to real and sustained development in Africa lies in the hands of my generation. I continue to be inspired by the trailblazers: Fred Deegbe, who quit his corporate job at a bank in Ghana to focus on his start-up “Heel The World,” a luxury bespoke shoe company that “exists to counter perceptions on the quality and capabilities of African craftsmanship.” Saran Jones, the “water lady” with a simple, yet ambitious mission: access to clean water for every man, woman and child in Liberia. 21 year old Andrew Mupuya in Uganda who decided to save the environment and his pockets with his award winning YELI eco-friendly paper bag business. Samuel Mwangi, who never graduated from high school and out of economic desperation started making LED signs to try and put food on the table and today has created the leading LED company in East Africa. Ayodeji Adewunmi, who in spite of a degree in Medicine from one of Nigeria’s elite universities, decided to be entrepreneurial and created Jobberman.com, West Africa’s most popular job search engine and aggregator, helping link qualified personnel to the right job opportunities. Esi Clellan who wants to “clothe Africa from within” with her Afrochic stores. Even Thomas Smyth, an obroni from Augusta, GA who while doing an internship in Zambia during his junior year recognized a huge opportunity in demand for sustainable energy
“Seeding Growth: Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs” hopes to profile and tell the stories of some of the youngest and most promising African entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal to inspire young people to use their entrepreneurial energy to change Africa through creating opportunities for others. The book hopes to change the perception of Africa as the “Dark Continent” and to show how young creative entrepreneurs are identifying problems as opportunities and seeding growth in a continent that has been long overlooked, but is poised for explosive growth and opportunity.
The #SeedingGrowth tour will take me to 17 countries across Africa during the summer of 2013. Join me on my journey on FB and Twitter
Seeding Growth Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seeding-Growth-Africas-Youngest-Entrepreneurs/277674475666285
Seeding Growth Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/SanguDelle
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