Southern African nation posts strong performance
By Lukmon Akintola
The southern African nation of Namibia has surged ahead of bigger and more dominant economies of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt to come out tops of all African countries featured in the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Index.
Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa fall closely behind as continental enterpreneurship leaders in the Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index of 85 countries ranks Singapore as the best environment for entrepreneurs the world over.
Of the African nations surveyed, Namibia scores highest and comes 42nd overall – ahead of other prominent African markets, such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
The research, conducted by Mara Foundation and Opinium Research, examines the state of entrepreneurship around the world.
The inaugural index features special ‘Focus on Africa’ section, with a deeper look at ‘women in the workplace’ and ‘youth unemployment.’
Singapore topped all-comers in the in-depth study of the world’s nations as offering the best environment for entrepreneurs, according to the Index developed by Mara Foundation and Opinium Research.
The inaugural Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index measures entrepreneurial environments around the world and assesses each of its 85 countries against a set of criteria that spans policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance.
Of the African nations, Namibia ranks 42nd overall, Rwanda ranks 43rd, Botswana ranks 44th and South Africa ranks 46th – all of which perform well on the ‘Policy’ pillar but have some way to go to improve on their infrastructure and education in particular.
Of the top three African countries in the Index, Namibia and Botswana are stronger on the education pillar because of comparatively higher levels of literacy and quality in education. Both countries have made education central to their development.
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 (72). Primarily because of the availability of credit and a low total tax rate.
Zambia, South Africa and Rwanda, the top 3 countries in Africa on the Finance pillar, stand head and shoulders above their peers, with scores of 72, 66 and 65 respectively. This places Zambia in the top 10 of all countries globally on the Finance Pillar, just behind the USA (78).
Significant challenges exist in terms of Africa’s political stability, 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 internet access.
Lower scores for education are due to the overall quality of education and lower literacy rates. Boosting opportunities for a quality education is imperative for increasing the region’s quality of entrepreneurs and start-ups and providing a suitable workforce.
While much of Western Europe does well overall in the Index, Greece and Spain rank relatively low (34th and 50th respectively). Both nations are continuing to reel from the after-effects of the financial crisis, which have been exacerbated by poor levels of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Rona Kotecha, Executive Director, Mara Foundation said: The Ashish J. Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index offers a powerful insight into various elements that impact entrepreneurship globally. Whilst Mara Mentor enables and empowers entrepreneurs, 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.”
The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index 2016 is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur, Ashish J Thakkar, who started his first business at the age of 15. The Index is a Mara Foundation initiative that has been developed with support from independent research consultancy, Opinium, to create a wide-ranging and thorough analysis of the state of entrepreneurship globally.
Ashish J Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group & Mara Foundation said: “Through the work of Mara Group over the past 20 years, I have come to recognise the immense contribution that entrepreneurs make to economies and societies around the world – particularly in relation to job creation. In recent years, however, it has become more and more apparent that governments and the private sector are simply not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in their endeavours. With the creation of this Index, we hope to provide some solid policy recommendations that will help guide discussions and improve entrepreneurial environments globally.”
President Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank said: “I commend Ashish J. Thakkar and the Mara Foundation for creating this timely 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.”
Mo Ibrahim, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “Entrepreneurs are a great engine for development. In Africa, you need to encourage and create the right environment for their success. I really wish to congratulate The Mara Foundation for developing its important index which is a useful tool for all of us.”
On his part, Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder said: “The Mara Foundation has done some great work supporting entrepreneurs all over the world. I’m delighted to see their new entrepreneurship index that will help identify opportunities for business, not-for-profits and Government to work together to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to thrive and to create jobs.”
The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index assessed 85 countries and is based on 5 broad pillars – Policy, Infrastructure, Education, Entrepreneurial Environment and Finance. Each of these pillars contains between three and seven sub-indices. These sub-indices were collated from a variety of sources such as UN and WTO statistics.
The 5 pillars aim to give a balance of physical barriers to entrepreneurship such as poor infrastructure, government policies preventing entrepreneurship and also assessing the entrepreneurial environment.
Mara Foundation is part of Mara Group, a pan-African multi-sector business with extensive operating experience in both African and international markets. Established in 2009, Mara Foundation focuses on fostering entrepreneurialism in Africa through a myriad of programmes designed to address the complete life-cycle of an entrepreneur’s business idea. The Foundation works to create sustainable economic and business development opportunities for young entrepreneurs via Mara Mentor and Mara Women. :
Opinium is an award winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on the pulse of what people think, feel and do. Creative and inquisitive, Opinium is passionate about empowering its clients to make the decisions that matter. they work with organisations to define and resolve commercial issues, helping them to get to grips with the world in which their brands operate, by ensuring they develop the right approach and methodology to deliver robust insight, targeted recommendations, and address specific business challenges.
Namibia President, Hage Geingob