The problems facing developing countries, in Africa and elsewhere, are overwhelming in their magnitude and complexity. From HIV/AIDS to widespread corruption and poverty, obstacles to economic development are occupying some of the world’s brightest minds.

Let me once again try to tackle Africa’s most trenchant problems in a vastly different way but with the goal to create a new development paradigm for the continent.

Few development experts would deny that, at some point, developing countries need to transition away from a reliance on foreign aid toward an economy supported by a sustainable business sector. People start to disagree, however, on how to make that happen.

I can only jump into the debate with a focused vision for Africa’s future. Disdainful of foreign aid, skeptical of the viability of the technology industry in Africa in the near term, and placing no faith in the ability of microfinance to transform lives on a large scale, am focused on good old fashioned manufacturing with a pro-environment, pro-human-rights twist.

You will agree with me that African manufacturers will be unable to compete with countries like China and India on cost, but the continent can transform itself into the producer of the world’s high-end, organic, socially responsible brands.

What is my plan? My plan is advocating for business-friendly legal systems, mentoring and encouraging young entrepreneurs, and spreading the vision for green manufacturing. Example, if we’re going to be building factories, let’s not build ones that are going to be harmful to the environment. If we have to use wood, let’s use bamboo because it’s more sustainable. If we’re going to be cutting trees, let’s plant new ones in their place.

One thing that definitely doesn’t figure into my plan is foreign aid. I believe Africans can do it on their own. At the end of the day, we’re not going to build anything on aid. Like it’s said, “Aid has never built anything.”

Entrepreneurs are the very essence of business development. Businesses do not arise because there is some need in the abstract. They arise because someone sees that need, sees the opportunity to satisfy that need, and has the wherewithal to secure the resources and deliver a product and collect payment for it and then start the whole cycle again.

I think there are many things needed for economic development, but clearly one essential component is entrepreneurship. When I talk about entrepreneurship, it is not just the lone individual who comes up with an idea and starts a business; it is also the same sort of entrepreneurial spirit that drives existing businesses to new and better performance.

In Africa, there is a great need for entrepreneurship and greater leadership and managerial ability in the private sector as well as in the nongovernmental organization space.

As a person who has dedicated my life to researching, teaching and studying entrepreneurship, because I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur by studying successful African entrepreneurs and seeing how under extremely difficult circumstances.

Where you are dealing with political instability, massive currency fluctuations, corruption and poor infrastructure even under these conditions, entrepreneurs can and do thrive and build wonderful, impressive businesses in Africa.

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