As with other continents, small business drives many African economies. Many small businesses in the continent are informal – they account for as high as 60 per cent of some countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Informal business is a historical problem that is not unique to Africa. As Governments have tried to regulate economies, there always is economic activity outside of regulated structures. Informal businesses are as old if not older than the more formal structures. The problem is not only that informal businesses avoid taxes, but such informal businesses cannot reach their full potential. They cannot access formal capital, improve national competitiveness, access larger traditional markets, for example, government contracts, take advantage of trade agreements, or even invest confidently. Some of the impediments to formalised business are:
a. the requirements to start a business;
b. controls in different sectors;
c. formal education systems; and often,
d. a lack of knowledge of what is required to do business successfully.
African Entrepreneurs’ Guide aims to help African Entrepreneurs get the information they need to start, grow and profit from their business efforts. This Guide is a practical book you can use for implementation and decision-making. The Guide is a three-part manual that has put together over 20 years of my working with African Entrepreneurs in the continent and the experiences of others.
The needs for African businesses, while global, are unique. Africa is at a time when there is more technological advancement than the world has ever known. The continent has many resources, yet most of its people live in poverty. Africa can stir itself to be the next economic giant or bury itself in an economic quagmire that would be difficult to emerge from. The continent’s direction depends not only on its leaders but on its people and, specifically, its entrepreneurs.