Jonathan Ortmans

Building One Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Month: April 2013

Botswana Startups Needed

Botswana_Needs_Startups

Botswana is among Africa’s richest countries and the continent’s oldest functioning post-colonial, multi-party democracy. It has low taxes and a stable government that has been ranked as Africa’s least corrupt. But it needs entrepreneurs.

While mining has been the pillar of Botswana’s wealth (diamonds account for about half the government’s revenue and over a third of its GDP), the country has largely avoided the “resource curse” that stymies economic growth in similar nations. The country’s income from diamond mining is spread widely enough to provide almost half the population with middle-class status. Articles about the economy of Botswana always hail its development performance and the example of stability it sets for the rest of the continent, but warn that the country must diversify before the mines run out—a deadline that is currently estimated at 2030. Entrepreneurs will play an important part in this.

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Rwanda’s Rush to Recovery

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While most favor bottom-up, entrepreneur-led efforts to develop robust entrepreneurial ecosystems, in Africa especially, what the government does actually matters a great deal. In the third of four posts this month on Africa, I look at Rwanda and find a country where smart government engagement has created a favorable climate for entrepreneurs.

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Nairobi: East Africa’s Startup Hub

nairobi

When I asked Mbwana Alliy last month why he founded the Savannah Fund in Nairobi, he had a simple answer—it is East Africa’s technology hub. As part of PDE’s look at Africa I began last week, we focus today on Kenya.

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It’s Time for Startup Africa

its_time_for_a_startup_africa

Chatter about the promise of Africa is not new. Outside economists have been reminding us about relatively high GDP growth rates; China conspiracy theorists keep us informed about who is buying up the continent’s natural resources; and global aid agencies are constantly rewriting their strategies. What is new is the rise of a new generation of Africans that is actually making things happen.

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At Last, a Global Platform for Startups

At_last

The nurturing of new and young firms has so far not been given much attention in prominent global gatherings. International government meetings have mostly concentrated on passive SME policy and others like the World Economic Forum have treated entrepreneurs as a side ring at the circus. The maturing of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) to fill this gap is thus a welcome development.

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