Thursday, July 25, 2013

The problem with economic development in Africa isn't with its entrepreneurs

In fact, as Ann Harrison, the author of a new study from Wharton notes: "If … you were to give African entrepreneurs the same kind of environment as an American or European entrepreneur, they would outperform their counterparts." I'd go further that most if not all of the issues that the authors identify really come back to poor governance and bad policy (Forbes):

According to the researchers, insufficient infrastructure, scarce access to credit and political monopolies cripple these economies. Inefficient telecommunications, a proxy for infrastructure, consistently retains top ranking among the reasons for their perennial disadvantage. The difficulty to gain financing — due to a lack of formal lending sources — garners second place. Single-party rule also inhibits progress to a lesser degree. “If one could adjust the daunting list of geographic, infrastructure, political, economic and institutional factors to the levels [that exist] elsewhere,” the authors write, “Africa possesses an inherent advantage.” Harrison adds that this could be because African firms have had to become stronger and work smarter in order to survive such a challenging environment.

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