How important is it to develop the African continent, its nations and its people? What are some of the unknown obstacles in doing so? Do we as people in the developed world feel as if we have a stake and a responsibility in doing so?
These are questions that clearly don’t have easy answers. For one, there are many issues we can pinpoint when we speak on the development of Africa, from education, to poverty, to health and wellness, to small business and microfinance, to corruption in government, civil war, workforce development, trade, natural resources and many more issues that I can even touch on here.
And one of the biggest issues I see facing the continent has strictly to do with the very issues of entrepreneurship, small business and microfinance. All around the world, entrepreneurship is fast becoming a way up and a way out for so many people that may not have access to the educational resources that we in the developed world do. In countries all over the world, and especially in Africa, companies and organizations are creating all kinds of outlets, forming alliances and partnering with people to help create real, long lasting and sustainable businesses and careers for those that might not otherwise have the chance to do so.
So, why are microfinance and the development of these small businesses so important to the continent of Africa, its countries and its people? Well, because of more than a few reasons, actually. For one, many people that want to start or expand businesses in Africa may not have access to the collateral and other items deemed necessary by standard banking institutions.
Furthermore, with these same institutions under so much scrutiny and public pressure, more and more people may be turning away from them to seek out what they need to grow the business that they depend on for their livelihood. Finally, the idea of microfinance has become such a major part of the developing world, especially in Africa, that even organizations such as the United Nations have taken notice in the past few years, realizing just how important this ideal has become to the continuing development and growth to the continent as a whole.
It has always been one of the cornerstone ideals that small business is the driver of the economy in the United States and much of the Western world. Now, that ideal is taking shape in African and throughout the developing world, with more and more small, entrepreneurial-based businesses starting to develop because of the efforts of so many organizations and corporations that deem it important and vital to develop the self-sustaining and self-sufficient African entrepreneur, and because of the ideas and energy of so many people on the continent of Africa that want to make a better life for themselves.
Overall, the development of the African continent and microfinance will only continue to converge and meld together, and hopefully for the betterment of the people of African, whether they are entrepreneurs, consumers, advocates, activists or anyone that just wants to show support to these increasingly important ideals.
By Ron Grant