World Bank: Entrepreneurs are Africa’s "engine for growth"

World Bank: Entrepreneurs are Africa’s "engine for growth"
Shell Foundation – [27/06/06]
The Foundation has warmly welcomed recognition by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz that entrepreneurs are Africa’s "engine for growth".
The Foundation has long argued that enterprise and business need to be at the heart of the war on poverty – not just the topics that too often dominate debate such as aid, trade and debt relief.
"Entrepreneurs, especially small businesses, are the engine for growth and job creation," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "Now that Africa is on the path of macroeconomic stability, significant reforms in the business-enabling environment are needed to unlock investment and productivity growth.”
The Foundation’s Aspire facility, launched in 2006, is specifically designed to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Africa, whose growth is often hampered by an inability to obtain funding from risk-averse local banks. Aspire will provide $24million to SMEs in East Africa and has the potential to be Pan-African.
Deputy Director of the Foundation Chris West, said: "I am delighted institutions like the World Bank recognise the essential role entrepreneurs must play in solving poverty in Africa.
"While increased aid, more equitable trade and debt relief are all important, the reality is that without the growth of the private sector – and SMEs in particular – there will be no economic growth that lifts people permanently out of poverty through the creation of sustainable employment and livelihood opportunities."
In Europe, more than 50% of all jobs are created by SMEs but in Africa the figure is around just 10%.

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