Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs in Africa: What We Know and What We Need to Do
Vol. Volume 7, Number 3 October/2002
Moses N. Kiggundu
This paper summarizes what we know about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Africa using three broad categories: The entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial firm, and the external environment. The entrepreneur’s attributes relevant for success or failure include demographic variables, traits, race and ethnicity, social status, and behavior. The concept of entrepreneurial competencies is used to synthesize the findings, and reconcile apparently contradictory findings. The entrepreneurial firm’s relevant factors include organization form, networks and clusters, capital resources, and corporate governance. Structural weaknesses common to African-owned firms are identified and discussed. The external environment, made up of various macroeconomic and socio-cultural variables, is considered necessary but not sufficient for sustaining changes in entrepreneurial competencies and firm performance. The paper concludes by discussing what we need to do in terms of producing more useable knowledge, doing better research, scaling up and mainstreaming entrepreneurship in Africa.