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The role of government in development of entrepreneurship in Gabon and South Africa; a comparative study
Africa is estimated to have more than 66% of the world’s natural resources, it is these natural resources that are converted into products that bring about the wealth the world has. Exploitation of these abundant resources has created numerous job opportunities worldwide, yet the continent continues to reel under extreme poverty. Millions of African children die each year due to undernourishment in a continent with virgin arable land which can produce enough food to feed the world. The African continent, the world’s second largest continent in size, can be easily classified as the intensive care unit. The continent houses 1.033 billion people which is about one sixth of the world’s population. An estimated 840 million people worldwide have no food to eat, and Africa houses 223 million of this foodless population. This means that, whilst Africa gives residence to one sixth (17%) of the world population, just over one quarter (26.4%) of the world’s starving population is in the second largest continent which has two thirds (67%) of the world’s wealth in mineral resources. One third of infant deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa are caused by hunger, with 23 million school children going to school hungry. Africa needs infrastructure and institutions to help the process of development and subsequent eradication of these high levels of poverty and illiteracy on the continent. Though Africa has more arable land that can be used, 45% of African households are affected by hunger. The IMF Chief Executive Officer recommended three critical areas that will influence the economic growth and development of Africa; "Build infrastructure, build institutions, and build people." The continent must improve governance, transparency and create sound economic frameworks for growth. Today, only one in five people in Africa find work in the formal sector because of the underdevelopment and lack of industries in a continent estimated to have more than 66% of the world’s natural resources. Entrepreneurship, the panacea for the African social and economic quagmire needs to take central stage in this rich continent inhabited by chronically poor people. African academics are challenged to come to the rescue since politicians have failed the continent. If it were possible, I would lock up the academics and politicians in one room and deny them food to eat and water to drink until they found an amicable solution to the misery bedevilling the world’s richest continent. Africa is characterized by high levels of political instability emanating largely from poverty and a highly illiterate populace, in a continent with a high growth rate - this is not positive news. The political unrest in Africa is largely due to chronic adjunct poverty caused by the absence of visionary leadership, and the post-colonial Africa is merely a change of hands with maintenance of status quo. At best the leadership is known for its geocentricism and self-preservation of the old boy scouts’ mentality where they protect each other whilst the fires of poverty consume and destroy the vestiges of the little that is left of African dignity. The birth rate on the continent is 38 per every 1000 and a death rate of 14 per every 1000. Even with such a relatively small population, the continent is not able to feed itself. The unemployment levels are disturbingly high in a continent with such high birth rates. Below standard education, and continued exploitation of natural resources by external investors are part of the norms the black race has to live with. If Asian countries without mineral wealth have turned the tide of poverty, why should Africa with all the resources continue in poverty? How long will Africa continue with leaders without direction? Is it not true that ‘where there is no vision the people perish?’ The study was conducted making a comparison of two African countries (Gabon and South Africa) to try to establish the relevance of the entrepreneurship policies and programs. The research findings point out a series of policies which are not supported by other factors in relation to the ability of citizens to benefit. It concludes that there is a greater need for other programs like higher levels of education, skills training and accessibility to business funding to enable the African countries to end chronic poverty.