The Global Entrepreneurship Network partnered with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Rwanda Development Board to host the African Entrepreneurship Policy Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, from 13th -14th December 2017. The event forms an essential part of a series of global discussions aimed to explore innovative public sector approach to stimulate new firm formation and growth.
African countries realize that entrepreneurship and systematic approaches to the formulation of related policies are vital in contributing to inclusive growth, sustainable development and the overall objectives of the African Union 2063 Agenda. UNCTAD has designed a project to support six developing countries (Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gambia, Tanzania) to design and implement effective policies to promote entrepreneurship and create an enabling environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish. Mr Thakhani Makhuvha, Chief Executive Officer, Small Enterprise Finance Agency says "The robust discussions we had here at the African Entrepreneurship Policy Forum have indeed brought fundamental need to harmonize and integrate regional policies that will assist in the development of entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region and the continent. It is my view that we eliminate silos but instead develop the best practice approach for the continent as a whole".
Fiorina Mugione, Chief Entrepreneurship Section, UNCTAD extended her gratitude to partners and acknowledged GEN’s efforts towards building and igniting the entrepreneurship movement in Africa. Key Components of the UNCTAD Entrepreneurship Policy Framework include the following:
- Formulating national entrepreneurship strategy
- Optimizing the regulatory environment
- Enhancing entrepreneurship education and skills
- Facilitating technology exchange and innovation
- Improving access to finance
- Promoting awareness and networking
This forum has been attended by many senior state officials, finance business executives, entrepreneurs, Regional Directors of Development Institutions, thus offering the opportunity to network and deliberate on best practices of enterprise development. The GEN Africa delegation was well represented by GEN Managing Directors from Kenya, Botswana and Mauritius. Whilst the South African delegation included; Mr Thakani Makhuvha, CEO – Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa), Ms Mmbodi Rambau, Senior Development Impact Support Specialist - Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ms. Alesimo Mwanga, Research Director – 22ONSLOANE + SEA Africa. “This has truly been a great experience, and very encouraging seeing several high level African government officials, our GEN African executives and entrepreneurs participating in these discussions. In order for African’s to realize growth potentials, we need to understand that policies cannot be developed in isolation, this requires concerted effort from private sector, civil society and entrepreneurs” says Ms Mwanga.
“At this event I will also share insights on IDCs focus on funding transactions in Africa and the different partnerships we have established with various organisations in Africa. I also look forward to learning best practices from African countries and identify ways that, we, as stakeholders in South Africa may tackle the low success rates on entrepreneurship activity in South Africa and promote intercontinental trade” says Ms Rambau.