Start-ups

If given $100, half of young Africans would use it to start a business, survey says

Three-quarters of Africa's population is under the age of 35, according to the United Nations.
FotografiaBasica/Getty

Around half of young people across Africa said that if they were offered $100, they would use it to start a business, a survey has shown. 

This entrepreneurial spirit was revealed in a study by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation charity, with just over three-quarters of the 4,200 youngsters surveyed saying they would like to start a new business in the next five years. 

Some 17% of those questioned said they wanted to do so in the retail sector, while 10% of respondents said they would look to either start a business in technology or agriculture. 

Social entrepreneurship was also a popular theme among young people in Africa, according to the survey, with 63% saying that their idea for a business or social enterprise would benefit those living in their community. 

The research, published in February, was conducted by international polling firm PBS Research on behalf of the foundation. People aged 18-24 were interviewed across 14 African countries in the first half of 2019. 

Just 16% of those questioned said they would invest the hypothetical $100 in their education, while 13% said they would save the funds. Meanwhile, 16% would spend it on either goods or leisure.

Young people in Malawi and Togo were most likely to be "afropreneurs," the study said, with nine out of 10 people in these countries saying they intended to start a business in the next five years. 

However, more than half of those surveyed said the biggest barrier to starting their own business was a lack of access to capital. Government regulation  and corruption were also said to be stumbling blocks for Africa's aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Patrick Awuah, who established Ashehi University in Ghana in 2002, said African businesses told the university they want graduates who are "ethical" and have an "entrepreneurial, 'let's solve this problem' mindset." 

He said businesses also wanted to hire young people who were "comfortable in situations more complex than the examples in their textbooks." 

Africa has the highest concentration of young people in the world, according to the United Nations, with three-quarters of the continent's population under the age of 35. 

In fact, the United Nations' 2019 World Population Prospects report said the world's youngest countries are all in Africa. Niger is set to have the youngest population in 2020, with a median age of 15.2 years old. 

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