President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on African countries to help push the frontier of entrepreneurial development to be able to grow their economies.
Addressing the opening session of the African Netpreneur Conference, an initiative launched by Jack Ma to support African entrepreneurs, President Akufo-Addo said entrepreneurship was one of the most important drivers of economic growth globally.
“The truth is that successful economies depend on entrepreneurs to run successful businesses. We need to push vigorously the culture of entrepreneurship so we can grow our economies to become prosperous,” he said.
The Jack Ma Foundation is hosting the inaugural full-day Africa Netpreneur Summit in Ghana for African and global entrepreneurs, investors, educators, and leaders to discuss how best to push entrepreneurship and the digital economy across the Continent.
Guest speakers will include Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.
The conference will be followed by the “Africa’s Business Heroes” event.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was humbled by her choice as host of the inaugural Netpreneur Summit and the African Heroes Business forum.
It was time to take entrepreneurship seriously and there could not be a better forum to demonstrate that than the Netpreueur forum, he said.
The development of entrepreneurial talent is key and constitute a very powerful tool to development and addressing the challenge of unemployment, especially youth unemployment.
He said the conference came at a time when Africa’s youth population was projected to be a quarter of the world’s population by 2035 and their empowerment through access to education and enabling environment was important.
“Africa today has a unique opportunity engendered by the globalisation of technology to achieve quality development gains by leveraging technology. The Netpreneur Summit seeks to empower Africa entrepreneurs to scale up the development.”
The President said Ghana had taken up the entrepreneur challenge and created an enduring business culture and a conducive business environment.
He said through the establishment of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme to provide business development services, support incubators and funding for young businesses, a great number of beneficiaries were making progress.
Mr Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, said if Africa wanted to develop, solve its problems and ensure sustainable growth, then leadership must find innovative ways to encourage entrepreneurs to join forces to develop the Continent.
Not everyone could become an entrepreneur but everybody must endeavour to have entrepreneurial skills, he noted.
“Good entrepreneurs solve the problems of society and search for opportunities. They solve problems,” he said, adding that he was encouraged by the African young entrepreneurs trying to solve the problems in their communities “and that is the hope.”
Mr Jack Ma said four things were extremely important for the future of Africa – Education, E-government, Infrastructure and Entrepreneurship.
“Africa never lacks talents, never lacks resources and never lacks opportunities.”
“What is needed is people to innovate and I think Africa should change because of entrepreneurs. Let’s start to help, let’s start to inspire and let’s start to empower the start-up spirit and entrepreneurship…,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo later presented awards to African social innovators of the Africa Innovates for the SDGs.