Dozens of thousands of talents, potential, and ideas have been led to time-out as young men and young women who were endowed with such talents and potential were led to their final resting place; the grave. Because passionate appeals were not taken heed of, whilst they were still alive, they died and were buried with great potential and unplumbed rich ideas, within them, that had the aptitude to transform Africa. What will be Africa’s status quo should these talents have not been wasted away for nought and what will be Africa’s lot if this trend continues to be the norm of the day?
It is a sad thing to realise that passion and potential is being wasted away in Africa. It is even more off-putting to learn that, in Africa and beyond, are people with talents which however are remaining shelved and in the course of time being filed into irretrievable archives. These all are entrepreneurship dynamics. As Psychologists agree, according to the decay theory propounded by Edward Thorndike based on Hermann Ebbinghaus’ early memory work, information that is not used will soon decay and neural pathways associated with such information will soon degenerate and die within the brain. It is against this background that Africa has lost many opportunities for development to people who have neglected to follow their passion, declined to use their talents, and resolved not to implement ideas that could have transformed the continent in an entrepreneurial manner. It can be said of many today that they are simply but living dead beings that have lost their hold on their passion and chosen to pursue effects that they can perform with least commitment and willingness, compromising the rapidity with which the African economy should develop should they discover and follow their passion.
It is sad reality that when surveys are carried out and assessments made concerning the status quo of the African economy, many colleges and universities are chucking out thousands of graduates each and every year of which only a few later on end up being entrepreneurs whilst the rest wait for employment as a result of them holding to an employee mind-set. If studies were to be carried out, it would be found that many do not have much to contribute merely because they do not follow their passion in their career choices. They choose money, prestige, job security and such other factors over passion. How then can one expect to be employed with someone else who will offer them the luxuries they will be looking for if no one is creating the employment? Blame has always been laid on the governments, the systems, the leaders, etc., for ills that have befallen many economies and all economic depressions. However, it was never taken into consideration that it was probably not the whole fault of any systems or leaders but our fault of omission in not playing our part in economic development as young people as it is said that an offense can be either as a result of commission or omission. As young people, we committed the sin of omission. We neglected our duty to our countries and to our continent as a whole by not choosing careers that really go along with our passion to drive economic expansion through entrepreneurship.
Did you know that various studies in most developed countries like China, Japan, the United States of America (USA) etc., confirm that there is a very strong positive correlation between career choices and economic development?. This has been revealed in that most people who choose careers that tally with their passion, careers they really love and yearn for, careers that go along with their talents, have been found to become entrepreneurs establishing vibrant business institutions that have legitimately furnished their economies. However, those people who choose vocations because of what such careers have to offer such as job security, money, reputation, etc., have been found to wind up either as job seekers or employees with only a few going on to establish businesses which however also do not perform optimally. It is no doubt that entrepreneurship is the driver of economic development and as such it can also be concluded that passion and talents have got a significant role to play in the development of economies.
This must be a wake-up call to us all young Africans. In as much as we look forward to a developed Africa, we must play our part, a crucial role, to its development by cherry-picking our professions right and by refining our focus towards entrepreneurship and employment creation. The principle of ‘one versus one’ must be our goal. Each and every one of us must strive to produce and employ at least one other person. This will not only lead to economic development but will with more than fifty percent lead to reduction in unemployment. Let us be our own brothers keepers and take pride in our continent. Our decisions today matter the most as they influence the fate of our continent. In view of the part we have to play, it must be within our minds that entrepreneurship is the way to go. Entrepreneurship is the problem solver for most of our problems.
We have a very vast array of physical and intellectual resources which are under employed and remain yet to be used. Those ideas that we have, buried deep within us, we need to tap into them and make a full employment of them by venturing into entrepreneurial activities. Both social and business entrepreneurship undertakings await people who will initiate them. As we work towards the development of our own continent, economically, and in all other respects, let us have in view the BIG picture of the Africa we can have should we all play our part as individuals; both young people and elders. It is for us to resolve whether we need to leave a perpetual bequest for our posterity by making the veracious call now to enter into entrepreneurship.
A few years ago in 2014, I had the opportunity of facilitating an engaging, interesting and very interactive discussion with certain key business stakeholders in the commerce industry whom I had just met and who share the same interest with me of seeing Africa develop to its fullest potential. We discussed a lot of issues regarding the African economy. Some of the issues we discussed include how economic policies can be adjusted in such a way as to be entrepreneurship inclusive, how the education system can be aligned not to only teach professions but also the understanding of establishment of sound business enterprises. During the round table discussion, we realised that students who often study say cookery, most certainly become cooks when they leave school without even a wish to own restaurants or hotels and resorts. If they study Building or any other discipline, they are sure to become builders and not owners of construction companies due to the lack of emphasis in entrepreneurial activities. How good they become authors of impressive and thought provoking Curriculum Vitaes and job application letters is shocking considering the lack of tact in writing potent business and financial plans which attract investment.
Instead of being very good in creating moving resumes and curriculum vitaes (CVs), it must be a time now when we start working towards becoming gurus in developing potent business, financial and strategic plans. The time has lapsed when we have to be donor dependant. Donors being there fulfilling their own organisational and philanthropical goals, let us join hands and do our part in making Africa our own creation. The dependency syndrome deprives us of our much needed independency. As Robert Kiyosaki writes, let us mind our own businesses by establishing business ventures that will contribute to economic development. Instead of just book learning certain principles that have nothing to do with entrepreneurship, let us all take it upon ourselves, as an initiative of personal development, to study entrepreneurship and financial intelligence. As Strive Masiyiwa accentuates, every citizen of any country, especially an African country, must strive to learn to interpret numbers, how to establish and run a business and all the legal processes involved in doing so. When this has been done, it does not need decades to develop and transform our continent.
When all has been said and done, become an entrepreneur, a problem solver and solution provider. Young entrepreneur, do not waste time singing the ‘I can’t’ chorus. You are obligated by the needs of our landmass to dare your thought configurations and think in positive terms and outside the box or even in other boxes. Instead of saying ‘I do not have the capital to start that business,’ challenge yourself by saying, ‘how best can I obtain the capital that I need to inaugurate that business?’ This will surely awaken your mind and the giant in you to other opportunities available for the budding entrepreneur than choosing to resign to living a life of mediocrity
By Happymore Chibvura