Want to Start a Business in Africa? AAI’s Speaker Series Panel Discussion Will Help You Get Started

January 29, 2015
tech entrepreneurs eblast

Tech entrepreneurs at iHub in Nairobi, Kenya.

As African nations increasingly institute business regulatory reforms and rapidly improve governance and infrastructure, local and Diasporan entrepreneurs are finding it easier to start businesses throughout the African continent.

The Africa-America Institute’s next Speaker Series panel discussion will explore all facets of building a business in Africa. The panel discussion, “Everything you need to know about building a business in Africa”, will be held on February 12 from 6:00-8:30pm at the TKP New York Conference Center, Manhattan Room (Concourse Level), in New York City. Door opens at 6:00pm.

The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a U.S.-based international education and policy organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, partner engagement, and research.

Leading panelists with years of experience in navigating the African business landscape will offer insight into the nuts and bolts of launching a business in Africa to promote sustainable economic growth and drive greater investment in Africa. Attendees will gain insider knowledge from experts on the best investment and small business opportunities, what challenges to expect, and how to access capital to foster entrepreneurship.

Moderated by Amini Kajunju, President & CEO, The Africa-America Institute, panelists include Shaka Kariuki, Partner & Co-Chief Investment Officer, Kuramo Capital Management; Aubrey Hruby, Visiting Fellow, Africa Center, Atlantic Council; and Mahesh K. Kotecha, President and founder of Structured Credit International Corp. (SCIC).

An African business leader attends a discussion on "Sustaining Businesses in Africa" at the World Economic Forum in Nigeria. Photo Credit: World Economic Forum

An African business leader attends a discussion on “Sustaining Businesses in Africa” at the World Economic Forum in Nigeria.
Photo Credit: World Economic Forum

Improved legal and regulatory reforms are making African countries more business-friendly for entrepreneurs. A World Bank Group report, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, found that Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest number of business regulatory reforms globally in 2013 and 2014, with 74 percent of African economies improving their regulatory environment. Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo are among the 10 top improvers worldwide, the report cited.

Yet challenges still persist for launching businesses in many parts of the continent. The Doing Business report said business incorporation is still costlier and more complex in Africa compared to other regions of the world. African entrepreneurs often face bureaucratic obstacles and high costs when formally registering their businesses with their governments. These persistent bottlenecks have the potential of deterring some entrepreneurs from seeking formal entrepreneurship.

However, more African countries are making gradual strides to improve the business registry process, including establishing online registries. For example, in Senegal 10 years ago it took an entrepreneur 57 days to start a business; today that process requires just six days—only a day more than in Norway. And Rwanda has set up an online business registration to increase efficiency and promote a more competitive business environment.

“The Speaker Series panel discussion will explore ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of setting up and managing a business in Africa,” said AAI President Kajunju. “You’ll hear about the basics of starting a business, attracting top talent as well as how entrepreneurship will create jobs and grow national economies.”

The panel discussion will also draw attention to the need for more African skilled workers to build a stronger workforce.

For more information and to register, please visit the Speaker Series Event Page for more information.

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