The time for entrepreneurship in Africa is now.
The Cape Times reported that this was the sentiment agreed upon by panelists taking part in a World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF-Africa) community conversation on 3 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
President Jacob Zuma also emphasized the importance for African countries to include young people into the economy and empower them to take on leadership roles. Estimates are that 18-million jobs will need to be created on the continent each year in order to absorb young people who wish to enter the labour market.
Several other delegates underscored the importance of entrepreneurship at the WEF conference this past week, targeting remarks at the mainly global audience gathered in Cape Town.
Members from Ineng’s Entrepreneurs in Public Policy program were present at the Global Shaper component of this year’s forum on Africa, having focused extensively on connecting the role of entrepreneurs to creating the economic growth South Africa needs.
Several recommendations on how to enable entrepreneurs have been tabled as a result of workshops on the ground, informed by the latest policy research:
Entrepreneurs in Public Policy Recommendations:
Recommendations to ease the Cost of Compliance:
- Customized Fees for companies are dependent on the size of the firm when it comes to licensing requirements (regulations).
- Decentralization of regulatory compliance functions to local authorities must be pursued (compliance). Local government remains closest to the people and municipalities must compete – like entrepreneurs – for the best service in facilitating regulatory compliance without red tape.
- African entrepreneurs should critically consider proposals from abroad that propose businesses perform extra activities over and beyond their core functions, particularly during their crucial phase of early growth (policy definition of business)
Recommendations on Immigration and Visa Policies
- South Africa should adopt electronic visas (e-visas), allowing applications online for visas as opposed to in-person interviews at consulates abroad, which can be difficult to get to – proving a disincentive for tourists. E-visas also cut down turn-around processing times and have proved very effective, and more secure, in similar markets like Turkey.
- Private companies should be allowed to assist investors with business and corporate visas that do not require biometric validation. By doing so, entrepreneurs will continue to source private investors and group tour bookings to help facilitate both foreign direct investment and tourism.
- National Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom’s studies into e-visas should be supported. Recommendations to Home Affairs from the Department of Tourism for the use of e-visas should be seriously considered
Recommendations to create One-Stop Shops
- The establishment of one-stop shops for SME support (enterprise development).
- As the next step, the establishment of one-stop shops for all compliance matters and not simply SME support (regulatory compliance)
Recommendations to increase Consumer Choice:
- Enable consumer choice for the poor through enabling entrepreneurs to start new companies in areas where government is seen as the main service provider (regulatory reform).
- Guarantee consumers the option of greater choice. Those reliant on government deserve the same choices as private healthcare users through a competitive economy driven by entrepreneurs.
Recommendations for Global Investment and Expansion:
- Focus free trade efforts on the ability of small businesses to access other African markets (market access).
- End currency controls that make acquiring investment from abroad difficult or nearly impossible for entrepreneurs (regulatory reform).
- For incoming investors, explore e-visa applications online to the experience of a potential investor of business partner visiting South Africa.
Recommendations to help Entrepreneurs acquire Assets:
- Government must pursue the rationalization of superfluous public facilities for acquisition by entrepreneurs (asset ownership). This reduces costs of rent and buying land in areas especially where few private commercial sites are available – notably townships.
- Failing state assets should be sold on the open market to entrepreneurs and allocate the sale of proceeds to the poor via direct transfers or share ownership (asset ownership).