Namibia has been adjudged the best African country for entrepreneurship by the Ashish J. Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index 2016 which measures entrepreneurial environments round the world.
The inaugural Index is an initiative of the Group’s Mara Foundation, developed with support from independent research consultancy Opinium to create a thorough analysis of the global entrepreneurship state against a set of criteria, ranging from policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance.
“The Index and its 20 policy recommendations are designed to provide a starting point for changes that can be implemented to create more effective entrepreneurial environments. This, in turn, will lead to job creation and a positive impact on economies around the world,” Rona Kotecha, Executive Director, Mara Foundation.
The top five African countries for entrepreneurship are Namibia, Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. They all scored well on the policy pillar but need improvement on infrastructure and education.
Namibia and Botswana having made education central to their development, measured comparatively higher levels of literacy and quality in education.
Rwanda scores highly on the policy and finance pillars driven by government initiatives to increase the ease of doing business. Credit is easily available and business transparency is high.
Zambia scores particularly well on the finance pillar primarily because of the availability of credit and a low total tax rate. At 79 overall, it places in the top 10 of all countries in the finance pillar behind the USA at 78.
Morocco leads other African nations in infrastructure; Tunisia in Education; and Ethiopia in Entrepreneurial environment.
Africa is plagued by significant challenges including political instability, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor education and under-diversified economies.
Comparatively lower scores for infrastructure are primarily driven by a lack of electrical access and the technology that comes with reliable access to energy, such as telecommunications and the internet.
Lower scores for education are due to the overall quality of education and lower literacy rates.
The lowest ranked African countries are Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Founder of the Mara Group and Mara Foundation Ashish J. Thakkar said, “With the creation of this Index, we hope to provide some solid policy recommendations that will help guide discussions and improve entrepreneurial environments globally.”
The Index finds that it is imperative to boost opportunities for a quality education to increase the quality of entrepreneurs and start-ups and providing a suitable workforce on the continent.
“Africa’s growth will continue to be driven by entrepreneurs. This index will highlight the operating environment and issues that have to be solved for entrepreneurs to ﬂourish,” Jay Ireland, President and CEO GE Africa noted.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina commended Thakkar and his foundation for the Index. “It provides useful insights on how Africa can unlock the potential of its youth and boost entrepreneurship. As populations are aging rapidly in much of the rest of the world, Africa can reap the economic dividends of its growing labor force. Africa is poised to become the next center for entrepreneurship, but we must provide Africa’s youth with the required skills and create an environment that will enable them to become the business leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
Singapore leads as the country offering the best environment for entrepreneurs in the world.