African Start-ups Create a Better Business Environment

World Development Report 2013 suggests that countries should focus on creating jobs with greater development payoffs. This makes me wonder whether we should also place more emphasis on those entrepreneurial ideas and businesses that could potentially improve the business environment in which other entrepreneurs operate, thereby generating a reproductive effect on the reduction of unemployment. Some tech start-ups in developing countries may just offer such a great example – displaying high levels of innovation such ventures mitigate the challenges of other entrepreneurs and SME owners face in doing business.

To showcase some of these innovative and promising start-ups in Africa, DEMO Africa is hosting its annual conference in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 24th to 26th of October 2012. Among the top 40 finalists who are going to demonstrate their products and services at the Conference, some have a great potential to improve the ease of doing business in Africa.

For example, Sasa Africa is an e-commerce platform that enables offline crafts persons in developing countries to connect to online consumers around the world using its proprietary mobile technology. The platform could generate cost-savings for both sides and also provide a great way for the craftsmen in the developing countries to reach the global marketplace. MPayer, a mobile and web application, helps businesses manage their transactions and view their operational information such as incomes, expenses and customer information. Mlouma, through web, mobile, and call center services, provides farmers reliable agricultural information in real time; and Dash2do, an online service network platform, connects small service providers to end users.

Through cutting edge technology, the above start-ups facilitate businesses in Africa.  In doing so, they all prove that economic freedom and entrepreneurship are powerful tools for development.  By creating an environment conducive to business, these enterprises directly contribute to sustainable economic growth.

Doria Xu
CIPE

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