Boosting Entrepreneurship in Africa

entreThe key drivers of this continent (human resource) are being wasted. African countries are gifted with strong people who can engage in entrepreneurship at higher standards. This is evidenced in many big International business companies and leaderships in the World. The best example is the current President of United States of America, Barack Obama. Effective utilization and engagement of such people after their end of term in Office and coming back to Africa will boost business in Africa because; they already have networks across the world. This starts with the foundation of children at school levels. In other continents where educational system and vocational training supply the labour market with adequate skills in number and quality, development of human resource is not a major social responsibility of the country. On the other hand, African countries where the educational system is weak, training and development of human resource falls largely on other countries. For many young Africans, the workplace is the first “real” school where they can fill the gaps of poor initial training, learn work discipline and acquire professional skills.

The article was written by Kenneth Rubangakene from Uganda. Kenneth has represented Uganda at many high forums like-High Level Youth Policy Dialogue on SDGs  in 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters. He is volunteering as Africa Regional Coordinator for IYONS Africa program. He headed 54 top young emerging leaders from all the 54 countries in Africa for the Launch of IYONS Global program in Chennai, India in 2015.

Connect with him on Facebook.

Advertisements

Article: Governance of my Tax!

TAX remission is age old, but many of us seldom interact to discuss it. Many more hardly ever interrogate where the TAX that we pay ends up on purchase simplistic items such as a match box, a candle or a bar of soap but on the flip side, Tax Justice is a fairly new concept that is slowly taking root in Africa following cross country calls by citizens, CSOs and development partners for Governments to account for the taxes that are collected and to provide quality services on time. To guarantee ownership, commitment and sustainability, the concept of Tax Justice Campaign frontloads the “common citizen” in all its engagements. In-depth understanding by practitioners and successful application by actual tax payers is strongly hinged on the three pillars of Human Rights Based Approach – empowerment, solidarity and campaigns. While there are various ways of collecting taxes, most African states generate most of their local revenue from the realms of the informal rather than the formal sector.

Various studies have shown that poor governance is one of the key causes of poverty. Global citizens suffer when governments do not provide requisite services for dignified livelihood. Serious problems with governance still exist in much of Africa – but the overall situation is steadily improving. Working with governments to improve the way public resources are used is an important part of any youth focused programming and intervention strategies. While most businesses in Africa are in small units and agriculture is more often than not practiced on substance basis, Local government incentives aimed at increasing the local revenue base to supplement national allocations is the missing component. For instance, agriculture and enterprising as sectors are barely resourced or effectively planned for. This means that there is no informative basis and conducive environment for the citizenry to seriously and sustainably engage either practice on broad scales. In effect, poverty at house-hold levels are sustained, services are mediocre and a sense of responsibility and ownership by duty bearers and citizens alike continually get eroded.

Distinctively, tax issues and related injustices are propagated by unaccounted for local revenue, uninformed and unequal allocation and accountability by the citizenry and the duty bearers at Local Government. Guided by the urgent need to augment mass awareness and participation on Participatory Democracy and Governance to promise and achieve focus on improving governance in social service delivery, promoting civic participation and improving state and non-state accountability. It is key to contextualise local/grassroot development agendas and feed them into the National Tax Justice Campaigns and while demand informs supply; on the one part, citizen roles and responsibilities on governance towards improving accountability and effectiveness by duty bearers cannot be gainsaid. On the flipside, local leadership – politicians and technical teams’ feedback on revenue collection and expenditure is imperative.

I have learnt that when the citizens are accorded decision making spaces and assigned roles in initiating, harnessing and nurturing their own programs, they more often than not tend to participate adequately and as such develop their leadership skills incrementally. However, it is not enough to avail resources both financial and human, however; it is also prudent to involve the citizens in designing plans as well as implementation of activities. Over and above else, to realize quality in this pillar, it is prudent for the citizens to be trained on practical citizen skills as debates and public speaking, advocacy, budgeting and Monitoring touching on tax matters. This is because, discussion issues at local or national level are not contextualized enough for the green grocer; charcoal dealer neither is it for the learned teacher and the local business man however much they are heavily and timely taxed!

 

The Writer, Ger Odock is a youth & women programming practitioner and enthusiast with over 6 years’ multicultural and cross country experience acquired while working in Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe and focused on monitoring, documentation, social accountability, elections, leadership, human rights based approaches and participatory governance processes. Ger is also the African Youth Corner (AYC) Country Representative in Kenya.

Connect with him:

Celebrating Day of the African Child 2016

The day of the African is celebrated on June 16 annually. This event is in honor of the South African children that were killed in 1976 as they demanded their rights to quality education. We have an article written by Amokeye Adi, reflecting on the day of the African child and the use of indigenous African languages:

“Today, we celebrate the children of Africa. We remember those brave over hundred South African school children, martyred in Soweto for demanding their rights to identity and a sovereign human existence in their own cosmopolitan space. We hear the echoes of a history we forgive but do not forget. We feel the pulses of the forces of afrocentricism and eurocentricism at an age long war. And here, I write about the reason why those South African children were killed: the language question which already occupies a large space in African discourses. Africa, our Africa, given independence all these years ago has yet to wash off the reality of western imperialism from her mind’s shores and this is not so much of what Africa bore under imperialism as what we have done to ourselves, what we’ve accepted to live by, what we hand down to our children and how it affects us as a people. I remember being ashamed, when I was a little kid, of speaking my native language in public and I remember swelling with pride when someone said to my mother, “your children speak very good English.” I wouldn’t feel the same way if they said I spoke perfect Bekwarra (my indigenous language). I’ve had to consciously overcome this. I remember how it was prohibited to use an indigenous language at school, even in a conversation with a friend and I know many Nigerians, now, even now, who proudly say, “oh please, I can’t speak my native language” and I guess that applies to many other African countries. I hear children sneeringly say “Hmmn, what’s that?” when they listen to indigenous languages, and I shake my head. We’ve taught our children to disrespect their languages. How wonderful! Over hundred children killed in South Africa for demanding that respect be accorded their languages and here we are, ashamed of the use of the same languages that people died for. And then we associate class and prestige to our colonial languages and so if you can’t speak those languages perfectly, you are uncivilized. Our languages are our identity, the preserve of our cultures and no foreign language can capture our unique experiences like our indigenous languages can but with each abuse of an African language, we allow an erosion of our heritage, the only one we can truly call ours. While it is okay to allow and encourage our children to learn these foreign languages because it widens their horizons, it is taboo to teach them that their languages are inferior to any other. It goes beyond merely the issue of speaking a language to how it affects the way they regard themselves. If their languages are inferior, it follows that they are inferior and the African child has a right to a better self-esteem, a right to know that they can be everything and anything their western counterparts can be, a right to their heritage. And so as we celebrate the children of Africa today, let us remember that we owe our children the duty to mold them into adults who have enough regard for who they are and where they come from, who recognize that this is the land that God has given them, who have enough centricism of Africa to renovate their fatherland.”

Youths as Agents of Development by Gershom Oghenemaro

Our political system is fast degrading. We have witnessed various displays of ill practices in the governments all over the world. God made man, man made money and money made man greedy. It is indeed pitiful that the lack of integrity is now accepted as normal. Tons of money is spent by the governments without much to show for it. So many things are going wrong. Our morality is losing its essence; our currency is fast losing its value, and our government plagued by inefficiency, greed and corruption.

The belief that youths could serve as good agents for development is fueled by the recognition of their strength, hence, their ability to make things happen. However, development doesn’t come easy; it proceeds from a reorientation of what really matters, a change in priority from excessive prosperity mindedness to posterity mindedness and from competition to “co-opetition”.

Before youths can become agents of development, they must first develop themselves. The ability to follow ones passions comes from confidence and self-acceptance, with these, youths can achieve more. The constant search for white collar jobs depicts an enormous lack of self-awareness among young high school leavers owing to parental advice. Development will be facilitated if our youths make career choices which suit their strengths and passions. However, when a person lacks passion for his job or his career, inefficiency breeds from the lack therefore leading to reduced productivity.

Every person is a team player in the world’s economy to an extent, you would agree with me that the establishment of more schools by individuals would reduce illiteracy among children just as the establishment of more business by individuals in the society would reduce the rate of unemployment, thereby reducing crime rate.

Youths can serve as agents of development if they can learn to solve societal problems, such as those already listed in the previous paragraph. One may ask how can the youths solve the societal problems? The answer is simple – through entrepreneurship. The ability to solve problems is an essential skill which can be developed by the youths.

Financial intelligence is in-expendable for the youths if they are indeed to be agents of development. Financial intelligence refers to ones knowledge of the workings of money, as well as ones knowledge on how to manage, multiply and keep ones money. With adequate amount of financial intelligence, the youths will be able to solve, hence making life a lot better and also making profit. Through the acquisition of financial intelligence the youths will be enabled to manage their income, leading to enhanced economic growth.

With financial intelligence in their possession, the youths aspiring to hold public offices will be able to manage the finances of their respective countries.

Finally with integrity, the youths will be able to handle public offices effectively. There’s just no telling how much the youths can achieve or how much development they can bring if they grow under the right tutelage as well as a good and nurturing environment.

The article above was written by Gershom Oghenemaro Wanogho, a 17 year old thinker and emerging entrepreneur.

Call for Articles by the African Youth Corner

call for articles

The African Youth Corner (AYC) is pleased to announce its Call for articles. This is an opportunity to lend your voice to the world on pertinent global matters as it applies to Africa. Articles should highlight Africa’s peculiarity in practice, growth pattern, challenges and prospects. Experience sharing is highly encouraged.

Selected Topics

Articles should be on any of the following topics:

  • Women and Girls Rights;
  • Education;
  • Technology in Africa;
  • Entrepreneurship;
  • Climate Change and Environment;
  • Democracy and Governance.

Eligibility

Open to everyone.

How to Apply

  • Attach article (as attached .docx or .PDF), minimum of 250 words and send to africanyouthcorner@gmail.com with the subject as “Your Name, Article Topic, Country”
  • Articles should be written in English.
  • Give a brief description of yourself in not more than 50 words. Type this in the body of the mail and include your social media handles.

Selected articles will be published on the African Youth Corner Website. Authors will be duly informed and acknowledged.

Join other young Africans on the AYC Facebook Page.