Monique Ntumngia of Cameroon had a strong piece of advice for young women entrepreneurs striving for success: “Bring your chairs to the table, as nobody will do it for you.”
Ntumngia, speaking this week at the 2019 African Economic Conference in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, added that “youths in Africa are the gamechangers providing the solutions to Africa’s problems and thereby changing the stereotype narrative Africa has always had.”
She was one of many young Africans at the conference who insisted they need greater power to achieve the African development they want to see – even as they encounter barriers at home. The participants came from Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and beyond, as well as the conference host country.
“Youths running businesses are not taken seriously,” said Terence Mathe, co-founder of Southern Incineration Services (SISCO) in Zimbabwe.“Such businesses are seen as part-time, as something young people do while waiting for bigger jobs. We have to take young people more seriously and also revise our tax systems to encourage them.”
His entrepreneurial peers also pressed for better access to financial markets and more support so that businesses led by young Africans create jobs for other Africans.
Their recommendations were presented to a ministerial roundtable at the AEC, which was organized by African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.
Image: African Development Bank