“African young entrepreneurs are creative and intelligent, and I continue to be blown away by their quality,” Mr. Pau told Africa Renewal.
Mr. Pau is heavily involved in the foundation’s work in Africa, including in the African Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) programme, which organises the Africa’s Business Heroes competition under whose auspices budding entrepreneurs get a chance to showcase their talents.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area would be a boon to entrepreneurs, free trade will resolve challenges around payments, logistics, travel and customs delays,”Jason Pau.
And following the outbreak of the pandemic, Mr. Pau helped organize the Jack Ma Foundation’s donation and distribution of medical supplies to African countries.
Given the anticipated challenges of a post-COVID recovery, he said that the continent “needs more young business leaders who can show different ways to success and different ways of leadership.”
Africa must “leverage its demographics for economic growth. There’s going to be a need to bring broadscale changes in areas like education, health, technology, and infrastructure,” he said.
He listed enabling conditions for entrepreneurship in Africa as including education, infrastructure and e-government.
Africa must educate the next generation to be creative, compassionate and culturally aware. “The math and coding are important, but I think we need to teach children to be human beings,” he insisted.
Add to that the need for access to the internet and availability of port logistics. “We can’t stress that enough,” he maintained.
As well, he urged countries to embrace the digital economy, noting that e-government will foster “transparency and help government be efficient and to engage with society.”
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area would be a boon to entrepreneurs, he predicted, because “free trade will resolve challenges around payments, logistics, travel and customs delays.
“When barriers are broken, and I'm thinking about some of the entrepreneurs that I have met [in Africa], their markets will increase five to 10 times.”
He advised African entrepreneurs to “do more business with other African entrepreneurs. I've found that many African businessmen and women, entrepreneurs tend to be very local based.”
Intra-African trade is just about 18 percent, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa.