Among African nations, Namibia scored highest on the Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index of 85 countries, which ranked Singapore as the best environment for entrepreneurs in the world.
While Namibia was ranked 42nd overall, it managed to fend off other prominent African markets, such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
The research, conducted by Mara Foundation and Opinium Research, examines the state of entrepreneurship around the world. The inaugural index features a special ‘Focus on Africa’ section, which provides a deeper look at ‘women in the workplace’ and ‘youth unemployment’.
“The Ashish J. Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index offers a powerful insight into various elements that impact entrepreneurship globally. Whilst Mara Mentor enables and empowers entrepreneurs, the Index and its 20 policy recommendations are designed to provide a starting point for changes that can be implemented to create more effective entrepreneurial environments. This, in turn, will lead to job creation and a positive impact on economies around the world,” said Rona Kotecha, executive director of the Mara Foundation.
The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index 2016 is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur, Ashish J Thakkar, who started his first business at the age of 15.
The Index is a Mara Foundation initiative that has been developed with support from independent research consultancy, Opinium, to create a wide-ranging and thorough analysis of the state of entrepreneurship globally.
“Through the work of Mara Group over the past 20 years, I have come to recognise the immense contribution that entrepreneurs make to economies and societies around the world – particularly in relation to job creation.
“In recent years, however, it has become more and more apparent that governments and the private sector are simply not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in their endeavours.
“With the creation of this Index, we hope to provide some solid policy recommendations that will help guide discussions and improve entrepreneurial environments globally,” said Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation.
The inaugural report indicated that Singapore topped an in-depth study of the world’s nations as offering the best environment for entrepreneurs, according to an Index developed by Mara Foundation and Opinium Research.
The inaugural Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index measures entrepreneurial environments around the world and assesses each of its 85 countries against a set of criteria that spans policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance.
On the African continent, Namibia ranked 42nd overall, Rwanda ranked 43rd, Botswana ranked 44th and South Africa ranks 46th, all of which perform well on the ‘Policy’ pillar but have some way to go to improve on their infrastructure and education in particular.
Of the top three African countries in the Index, Namibia and Botswana are stronger on the education pillar because of comparatively higher levels of literacy and quality in education as both countries have made education central to their development.
Rwanda scored highly on the Policy and Finance Pillars driven by government initiatives to increase the ease of doing business because credit is easily available and business transparency is high in that country.
Zambia scores particularly well on the Finance Pillar (72), primarily because of the availability of credit and a low total tax rate.
Zambia, South Africa and Rwanda, the top 3 countries in Africa on the Finance pillar, stand head and shoulders above their peers, with scores of 72, 66 and 65 respectively. This places Zambia in the top 10 of all countries globally on the Finance Pillar, just behind the USA (78).
However, significant challenges exist in terms of Africa’s political stability, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor education and under-diversified economies.
Comparatively lower scores for infrastructure are primarily driven by a lack of electrical access and the technology that comes with reliable access to energy, such as telecommunications and internet access.
Lower scores for education are due to the overall quality of education and lower literacy rates. Boosting opportunities for a quality education is imperative for increasing the region’s quality of entrepreneurs and start-ups and providing a suitable workforce.
While much of Western Europe does well overall in the Index, Greece and Spain ranked relatively low (34th and 50th respectively). Both nations are continuing to reel from the after-effects of the financial crisis, which have been exacerbated by poor levels of entrepreneurial opportunities.
“I commend Ashish J. Thakkar and the Mara Foundation for creating this timely index. It provides useful insights on how Africa can unlock the potential of its youth and boost entrepreneurship. As populations are aging rapidly in much of the rest of the world, Africa can reap the economic dividends of its growing labor force.
“Africa is poised to become the next center for entrepreneurship, but we must provide Africa’s youth with the required skills and create an environment that will enable them to become the business leaders of tomorrow,” said president of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina.
“Entrepreneurs are a great engine for development. In Africa, you need to encourage and create the right environment for their success. I really wish to congratulate The Mara Foundation for developing its important index which is a useful tool for all of us,” commented Mo Ibrahim, founding chairman of Satya Capital Limited, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Also weighing in, founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson said: “The Mara Foundation has done some great work supporting entrepreneurs all over the world. I’m delighted to see their new entrepreneurship index that will help identify opportunities for business, not-for-profits and government to work together to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to thrive and to create jobs.”