President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has thrown an open challenge to entrepreneurs in Africa to play their part towards the liberation of the continent from its seeming dependence mentality.
He believes entrepreneurship is an essential component of economic growth which has been embraced globally as one of the most important drivers of accelerated development.
He made the call at the maiden Africa Netpreneur Conference, a Jack Ma Foundation initiative held over the weekend in Accra under the theme: “The Rise of Africa’s Entrepreneur Heroes.”
“Let us rise together and build Africa. Let us leave a legacy we can be proud of to generations unborn,” he stressed, adding that “we are doing all of this because we cannot continue to lose our young ones on the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert.”
“We must create the enabling environment to unleash the entrepreneurial skills for national and continental development. I have said and I firmly believe that we can build a Ghana and indeed an Africa beyond aid that is a prosperous and self-confident Africa; that is in charge of its economic destiny, a transformed Africa that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, an Africa that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment,” he said.
“We can only do this if we invest in entrepreneurship and ensure that the population are aggressive in pursuing the entrepreneurial agenda,” he added.
On his part, world-acclaimed business magnate, Jack Ma, whose Foundation initiated the Netpreneur, said they settled on Africa because they recognized that the continent has real and hungry entrepreneurs who want to make a difference but have genuine challenges.
He said the ‘Rise of Africa’s Entrepreneur Heroes’ event was ready to bring a change in the dynamics in the lives of the African entrepreneur, who dares to make the difference.
After seven months and nearly 10,000 applications, the Africa Netpreneur Prize initiative chose the 10 finalists for the competition‘s grand finale event in Accra.
The 10 contestants, who hail from Egypt, Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire, are expected to make their final pitches during the taping of “Africa’s Business Heroes,” a televised event scheduled to air on November 29 in countries across Africa.
The $1 million prize pool they will receive will depend on Alibaba Group, Founder Jack Ma; Econet Group, Founder and Executive Chairman, Strive Masiyiwa; First Bank of Nigeria Chairman and the Chair Centre Group, Founder Ibukun Awosika, and the Executive Vice-Chairman of Alibaba Group, Joe Tsai.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent