My last post was on the entrepreneurial mindset…The mindset is important, because everything begins first with a thought. So if your mind ain’t right, your life ain’t right.
Recently I’ve been reading various blogs about entrepreneurship in Africa. There is a lot going on business-wise and it’s great to see. Entrepreneurship is vital to continents or countries which have experienced, and are still experiencing, hardship – whether societal, culture, financial or other. Not just for economic reasons, but for the benefit of individual and collective pscyhology and consciousness.
As you can see from my previous post, I believe that the employee mindset (forgive me for being so hard on employees) is based on conformity, toeing the line, being led, following someone else’s rules, being other-directed, and ultimately allowing someone else to profit massively from your input.
In a way, this mindset is one that Africa has been stuck in for a long time. Africa was the employee of colonialism. It has been the employee of ineffective dictators and leaders. There are many who use, or have used, Africa to enrich themselves.
But now is the time for Africa to become its own boss. It’s not just physical businesses that Africa needs to build, but an entrepreneurial mindset of self-directness, leadership, creativity, opportunity and self-sufficiency.
The aid-for-Africa model creates a continent which is a lowly, dependent employee, unable to act without instruction from the boss (the World Bank, G8).
Africa as an entrepreneur is a continent which uses its own resources creatively for freedom – and eschews the so-called ‘security’ of binding loans and regular handouts. It is a different way of thinking, a different way of acting. The entrepreneur mindset is an empowered, and empowering, one.
We need African leaders to embrace the entrepreneur mentality. By embracing it, they would stop seeing themselves both as the top dog who can exploit his workers (the people of his country), and also as the over-worked, under-paid employees of certain (usually Western) organizations and bodies.
I believe African people have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. It is what led great people like Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah to fight for their countries and make such vital changes. It is what leads men and women to stand on African streets in scorching hot sun and sell shoes, sunglasses, or whatever they can get their hands on to provide for themselves and their families.
When we think of entrepreneurship we usually think of big business. It’s not just that. All Africans – leaders and citizens – need to embrace it as a way of life, an attitude.
Africa will realize its potential when it becomes an entrepreneur, setting its own terms and conditions, its own agenda, and works for itself.