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News > South Africa

South Africa for Enabling Environment for Entrepreneurs

  •  Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa (GEC+Africa). Mar. 14, 2024.

    Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa (GEC+Africa). Mar. 14, 2024. | Photo: X/@UVUAfrica

Published 14 March 2024

Africa is a continent overflowing with untapped potential, a hub of innovation and invention waiting to be reawakened.

On Wednesday, South Africa urged leaders and policymakers to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in the African continent to thrive.

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South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile made the appeal at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa (GEC+Africa) taking place in Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, from Wednesday to Thursday.

GEC+Africa is a gathering of entrepreneurs and leaders from more than 50 African nations committed to advancing entrepreneurial activity throughout their own countries.

Hosted by the South African Department of Small Business Development, the two-day event is attended by more than 1,500 delegates, including representatives of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), investors, policymakers and representatives of organizations.

While delivering the keynote address, Mashatile said the congress came at the right time for Africa. "This GEC+ Africa congress is timely and extremely important given the current global economic situation, especially the African continent's continued efforts to reinvent itself as a more influential actor in shaping the global agenda," he said.

The deputy president noted that Africa is a continent overflowing with untapped potential, a hub of innovation and invention waiting to be reawakened.

"As a continent, we need to rise to a level where we have well-integrated production networks, are equally participating in global trade, and are rapidly improving our export mix," said Marshatile.

"As policymakers, we have to create an enabling environment for our entrepreneurs," he stressed. "It is critical that, as policymakers, we create a more supportive policy environment."

Marshatile suggested that leaders should ensure that the core foundations of the digital economy are in place, including digital infrastructure, digital skills, cybersecurity capabilities, and affordable and accessible data.

He also called for the elimination of red tape to facilitate cross-border trade for African entrepreneurs.

The deputy president also emphasized the need to enhance governance systems, such as combating corruption, improving macroeconomic management, and resolving disputes through negotiation rather than violent conflict.

"This event should serve as a call to action for this generation of African leaders to do the work and leave a lasting legacy of economic growth, regional integration and overall African prosperity," he added.

South African Minister for Small Business Development Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams also addressed the gathering, calling on governments to create enabling policy frameworks to effectively support entrepreneurship on the continent.

"Besides making policy, governments must lead and direct their respective entrepreneurship ecosystems," said Ndabeni-Abrahams. "To effectively co-ordinate the ecosystem, the government must also provide strategic leadership." 

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