Africa Day; Impacts and Implications on African Businesses
This year’s celebration of Africa couldn’t have been more remarkable. Africans all over the world came gathered to celebrate Africa day. The tales of the African heritage is not infamous. The sufferings and events that have gotten Africa this far.
The emergence and impacts of Covid-19 cannot be sidelined. The whole world was at the mercy of the virus. The world’s recovery from the pandemic is ongoing. Africa resisted the virus. Scientists proposed Climatic factors and genes of the black race to be contributors in putting a resistance against the virus. Yet again, Africa is proven to survive.
On May 25, The day formerly known as African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is annually celebrated in the commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 5 May 1963. This year’s theme was Arts, Culture, And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.
Colonialism was a huge blow on Africa. The stories of the white masters and slaveries have been passed down to generations. On this special day, the continent celebrates African Unity and the attainment of independence from the yoke of colonial powers.
Birthed out of quest for all African states to achieve political independence, the goal has become broader and encompasses having a united, economic-booming Africa.
Sadly, Africa still faces a host of challenges as it cannot boast of full economic and social independence. There is still much to be done for the full economic and social liberation of the African continent.
“We must unite now or perish… We must recognize that our economic independence resides in our African union and requires the same concentration upon the political achievement.” – First President and Prime Minister of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah in his address at the founding of the OAU, Addis Ababa, 1963.
Small businesses play a pivotal role in the economic growth of Africa accounting for about 80% of all businesses in Africa. It is safe to assert that the African economy thrives on the success of these SMEs.
In South Africa, SMEs account for 91% of businesses, 60% of employment and contribute 52% of total GDP. In Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48% of national GDP, account for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment (www.pwc.com/)
With so much grounds covered by SMEs in the economic growth of Africa, a host of challenges ranging from lack of access to funding, non-conducive environment for business growth, harsh government policies, corruption, power shortage, poor management skills and inadequate information. These challenges have taken huge turns on Africa curbing its growth.
In light of celebrating Africa’s day, African should be reminded of where it used to be. Our resilience from gaining independence. A continent strong enough to cater for its people and relieve worries of the basics. We are reminded of the sweats and labor of the heroes past. The courage of those who fought for African countries independence.
A reminder of what we can achieve with a united effort, a reminder to our leaders of the oaths they swore to serve the people right, a reminder of integrity and honesty, a reminder to the business owner to do business excellently defiling the odds, a reminder to the struggling business of how the Africa always gets the job done. It’s a wake-up call to everyone, the feats achieved so far, and the future that lies ahead.
“The evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace!” –Thabo Mbeki former President of South Africa, “I am an African” speech delivered on 8 May 1996.
On the development and sustainability of African SMEs, The Organization for economic cooperation and development ( OECD) shares;
SME development requires a cross-cutting strategy that touches upon many areas (e.g. ability of governments to implement sound macroeconomic policies, capability of stakeholders to develop conducive microeconomic business environments, inter alia, through simplified legal and regulatory frameworks, good governance, abundant and accessible finance, suitable infrastructure, supportive education, sufficiently healthy and flexibly skilled labor as well as capable public and private institutions, and the ability of SMEs to implement competitive operating practices and business strategies). Thus, SME development strategy must be integrated in the broader national development strategy and/or poverty reduction and growth strategy of transition and developing countries.
Dialogue and partnerships between the stakeholders (public sector, private sector, and civil society) fosters ownership of these strategies, engenders them more implementable (by better addressing SME needs), making them politically credible, and sustainable.
Access and integration into local, national, and global markets require substantial investments in sustainable institutional and physical infrastructure development and service delivery to SMEs in all areas, including those that are rural and/or remote. Continued dialogue and partnerships between stakeholders into implementation and review of supportive measures, particularly, those related to capacity building in executing institutions, yields improved outcomes.
Enhancing women’s ability to participate in SME development should be taken into account at every level, as women account for an important share of private sector activity and contribute most to poverty reduction. Gender dimensions need to be mainstreamed throughout SME development strategies and programs, with additional specific, targeted initiatives directed at critical roadblocks.
While celebrating Africa for its heritage, resilience, beauty, and culture, we also stand to ensure that Africa’s resources are harnessed for economic growth .