In recent years, large corporations have been touted as the solution to Africa’s poverty. However, a recent article by David Pilling highlights the importance of micro-entrepreneurs in regions that are often overlooked by big businesses. The World Bank emphasizes that extreme poverty is still prevalent in remote and conflict-ridden areas, where smaller enterprises can thrive.
Programs aimed at addressing extreme poverty have been shown to be effective in transforming communities. Research has demonstrated that by teaching business skills in these areas, household incomes can increase significantly, leading to a rise in annual household consumption and savings. Randomized control trials have also found positive impacts on diet, health, and people’s ability to save for the future. The long-term success and scalability of these approaches have been highlighted by Shameran Abed, executive director of Brac International, and Esther Duflo of MIT.
While larger businesses can play a role in addressing poverty, it’s important to recognize the impact of smaller enterprises as well. A comprehensive strategy that integrates proven methodologies with the development of larger businesses is necessary to create a resilient and inclusive economic landscape across Africa. Taddeo Muriuki, Chief Government Relations Officer at Village Enterprise in Nairobi Kenya emphasizes this point and advocates for a comprehensive approach to development in Africa.