Youth business conferences, seminars and forums have gradually become the hub for certain buzzwords. ‘Innovate’, ‘create’ and ‘inspire’ were a few. The most used being “reinvent the wheel”.
As used as the word is, we have so many ‘reinvented wheels’ moving individually which in turn make the destination seem further than anticipated. Such reinvented wheels are the growing small businesses, large companies which have rebranded themselves and new faces of governments all moving in isolation towards the same goal.
In the past week, the world convened once again at the annual world economic forum in Africa under the theme, then and now: reimagining Africa’s Future, where various stakeholders had talks on rebuilding Africa to secure future generations. One thing about the conference, it created a new, more relevant buzzword: collaborate.
At the conference Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa stated that business leaders, government and the community need to work together towards creating ease of business in the continent.
Noting that the engine for growth in the continent is the rise of small businesses which tend to fill untapped markets which large companies are not catering to, Brewer informed the panel that in terms of trade, information, finance and moving people, Africa is the world’s least connected continent. With only 12% of African countries trading with each other and the continent only accounting for 3% value addition in global trade.
This isn’t an solution foreign to our continent – certain countries have collaborated within each other and which other member states to lead to a certain target. We have seen Rwanda’s collaboration with SME’s, parastatals, government and the private sector towards a knowledge based economy, we also know that without certain trade partnerships within ourselves, such as the ECOWAS and East Africa Community (EAC).
Such should be more than logic to collaborate, as it’s the best win-win model to move towards a self-sufficient interdependent continent. We are all wheels in the same moving vehicle. It’s time to work together.