Though poverty coupled with a high youth unemployment rate remain paramount issues on the continent, Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well among young people, according to a new survey.
At least one in five young people in Africa between the ages of 15 and 24 plan on starting their own business within the next year, with young women being just as likely as men to do so, according to a recent Gallup poll that surveyed young people in 27 African nations.
A closer look at Gallup’s detailed results reveals there are stark economic divisions across the continent when it comes to youth entrepreneurship.
Youth in poorer countries appear to be more likely to want to start a business. For example, in Morocco (where 15 percent of people live below the poverty line) only 3 percent of young people reported intentions of starting a business. But in Uganda, where the latest estimates say 35 percent live below the poverty line, 40 percent of young people plan to start their own businesses.
A regional division also exists.
Young North Africans are less likely than those in sub-Saharan Africa to start businesses, the results said. Additionally, North African youth are less optimistic about the success of such business ventures in comparison to those in the sub-Saharan region. And in Libya, 9 percent of young people believe it’s easy to get a startup loan, versus 45 percent in South Africa, even though the nations have similar economies.
The poll results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted with 1,000 adults age 15 and older.
All in all, the survey shows that there are many young business-minded Africans that, provided with the right support, could successfully sustain their own income.
Support for the continent’s youth was one of the primary topics of last week’s African Union Summit. During the meeting of African heads of state, selected young people from across the continent had an opportunity to participate in honest and open talks with the leaders in a discussion themed “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
High levels of youth unemployment, low levels of education and inaccessible labor markets were just a few of the concerns they highlighted, according to a release.
(Photo: Gaetan Bally/Landov)