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SA ranks fourth in Africa on entrepreneurship index

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Singapore has 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.
Of the African nations, Namibia ranks 42nd overall, Rwanda ranks 43rd, Botswana ranks 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. Both countries have made education central to their development.
Rwanda scores highly on the Policy and Finance Pillars driven by government initiatives to increase the ease of doing business. Credit is easily available and business transparency is high.
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 three 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 US (78).
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 rank 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.
Rona Kotecha, executive director of the Mara Foundation, says: 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.”
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.
Ashish Thakkar, founder and the Mara Group and Mara Foundation, comments: “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.”