Africa is a rapidly changing region, with the continent’s population expected to reach over 8 billion by 2050, and the region’s economies poised to grow by 40 percent by 2030.
Africa is also a global economy, with its own set of laws and regulations.
But how can entrepreneurs navigate the regulatory landscape in a way that is more efficient, fair and transparent?
That is the question posed by a new report by Al Jazeera’s Africa correspondent Joanna Robinson.
The report, The Entrepreneurial Revolution in Africa, examines the way in which entrepreneurs are able to operate in Africa and examines the obstacles they face in the continent.
The Global Entrepreneurship Index, a report published by McKinsey, has identified six key challenges that entrepreneurs face in Africa: the need for legal framework, legal structure, legal system and regulatory framework, social acceptance and governance.
The challenge for entrepreneurs in Africa is one that is often overlooked, said Robinson, who leads Al Jazeera Africa’s project on the emergence of African entrepreneurs.
In a country where the economy is growing by around 10 percent a year, and where more than one in five people are unemployed, the chances of finding a good job in the region are slim, she said.
So how do you get a foothold?
“I think it is a lot more of a case of the entrepreneur having to start from scratch and work with an entrepreneurial team to figure out what they want to do and what the requirements are,” she said, adding that entrepreneurship in Africa has historically been seen as being a career for women, rather than for men.
“It’s a huge shift.
People are starting up businesses now and that’s a big change.”
In fact, the first women to enter the ranks of the global business community are women.
They are women who were once considered to be second-class citizens in the country.
They have a long way to go, said Maryam Jumil, CEO of the African Union Women Entrepreneurs Initiative, an organization aimed at empowering women in the African region.
“They [women] have been excluded from the business space, and that has not changed.
So we need to change that.”
She said the new generation of African businesses are being built on a “broader base of women”.
The report is based on data collected by the International Entrepreneurs Report (IIERA), a non-profit organisation that aims to track global entrepreneurial activity.
It was launched in April, and aims to document the development of Africa as a hub for entrepreneurship.
The IIERA, which includes some of the world’s most innovative African entrepreneurs, estimates that Africa’s economic growth will increase by an average of 13 percent per year from 2020 to 2030.
The data also indicates that the number of women who enter the African market has increased by an astonishing 20 percent per annum between 2010 and 2015.
The IIERA also points to a rise in the number in Africa of female-led ventures, which are estimated to be worth $50 billion a year.
In its report, Robinson points to several examples of women and entrepreneurs that have found success, such as the women-led mobile phone network Waze, which is valued at more than $2 billion, as well as the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, which has funded companies including Bambi, which allows women to travel independently.
“We have a lot of examples of young women, the entrepreneurs who have been able to start businesses and grow and become globally recognized,” Robinson said.
But for some African entrepreneurs to succeed, the rules and regulations in the world of business must change.
“One of the main challenges we face is the fact that the rules are not there to provide the legal structure for entrepreneurs,” said Jumile Toh, CEO at the African Institute for Business and Entrepreneurships (AIBE).
“There is no such thing as a business licence in Africa.
So what we need is a framework where we can be successful, and not be arrested for being entrepreneurs.”
Toh said that, as a result, the African economy is still largely dominated by male entrepreneurs.
“I have a hard time believing that this is the only way to grow the African sector,” she added.