According to a study done in 2013, Africa’s population will be approximately 2.4 billion by the year 2050. This figure is 200% of the current population. The year 2050 is a little over thirty years from now this implies that most of the population in 2050 will be below thirty-five, within the age range in which people are expected to be actively working. I can deduce this because the 2.4 billion estimate is based on the number of babies being born now and the reduction in mortality rates in Africa.
In about thirty years most people who started working this year in regular jobs would be nearing retirement age however this will not significantly reduce the pressure on existing jobs. In addition, the rise of technology will significantly reduce the number of open positions as we know them today thus those who will be working will be doing slightly different kinds of jobs. I hope the picture is becoming clearer.
Now, everything I have written so far is more or less common knowledge which I have merely put I a different combination of words. Also common is the understanding that if we are to be ready for this future we are inevitably headed for, we must embrace entrepreneurship. However the question becomes: can EVERYONE be an entrepreneur? I think not. Some people cannot be entrepreneurs because they lack the required drive, enthusiasm or interest. Some people simply want to get along and they are happy with life. Others cannot be entrepreneurs because no matter how hard they try, they simply lack the capacity.
Capacity: Specific ability of an entity (person or organization) or resource, measured in quantity and level of quality, over an extended period. ( http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/capacity.html). The dream in most people’s hearts is to be significant in life. We are all inspired by success stories. For most people in the world, that’s where it ends even after decades of attempting to ‘do something great’ : a dream. Is there a way to address this?
I think one way to deal with this is to do an honest estimation of our strengths and weaknesses. Maybe even a full SWOT analysis of ourselves before we venture. I love being an entrepreneur, I want to be an entrepreneur, I have a great business idea and so on. But can I, yes I, can I actually become successful at entrepreneurship? Will it require too much effort from me? Will it sap me of energy so much that the joy of finally arriving there would not be worth it? If YES, then I have to take another route: find a partner.
This blog post discusses ten super successful companies formed by co-founders. The value of a partnership is mostly found in cases where one person compliments the other. One person is an ardent programmer with little interest in money and the other is an aggressive businessman. One person is a deep-thinking introvert and the other is a great marketer, making friends and customers everywhere. One person is the son of a humble shop owner and the other is royalty who doesn’t know what to do with money. Complimentary partnerships. Approaching business this way can scale up the number of businesses that will be running by 2050 when we will really need them.
I have noticed however that trust issues, hedonism, lack of vision, the quest for titles, greed and many other mundane factor challenge the ability of African entrepreneurs to work together and form valuable complimentary partnerships. We have to find ways of addressing this if we are to move forward significantly. And it is worth mentioning here that such partnerships must be genuine. Genuine in the sense that all parties involved must realize that we succeed together or we fail together. There is no fair-weather complimentary partnership that makes any sense.
In summary, if you have an idea that for some reason you feel that you do not have capacity to execute, you do not need to feel stuck. Find someone you can work with and make things happen. All our children are counting on you.