Message from the President of the Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society
Africa has always been in the news for bad things, conflict, poverty, natural disasters and diseases. All these have been attributed to inability for Africa to develop and consequently address its own problems. In recent years, this has been changing. There has been a feeling that it is time for Africa to grow and transform. This is coming after the emergence of China and India in the last 20 to 30 years as economic giants. These two countries have witnessed tremendous social economic transformation while Africa has lagged behind.
Africa has the resources that can ensure its transformation but it seems it has not yet got the right formula to exploit these resources for the benefit of its people. A lot of the resources extracted from Africa are used to develop other countries. This is because Africa has not got the leadership and entrepreneurship abilities to manage its own resources. This is the wakeup call.
Over the last 50 years, Africa has had prescriptions for development from multi-lateral institutions and developed governments around the world. These prescriptions have mainly been concerned with Africa opening up its markets. Unfortunately these prescriptions have not enabled Africa develop the competitive abilities it requires to produce and market its products in the global environment. If Africa is to transform, there is need to find those unique solutions that can help Africa catch up with the rest of the world.
The scholarly work that informs policy prescribed for Africa has been informed by agendas and funding from developed countries. It seems this is what is being implemented in Africa. It has achieved some degree of change but has left millions poor. There is thus need for a new thinking about Africa. There is need for alternative solutions that should help Africa change. There is need to develop a leadership that thinks and sees things differently. There is need for a more objective assessment of Africa’s problems from Africa’s own perspective.
The Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society is positioning itself to champion development in Africa. The society is bringing together scholars in the diaspora and in Africa to have a fresh look at Africa’s problems through research with a hope to inform policy. The society is doing this through conferences, joint research and collaborations between individuals and institutions. The society hopes that through its efforts, it can identify causes of conflict in Africa, the causes of backwardness in Africa and prescribes solutions that can be used to have Africa emerge out of situations of war, poverty and diseases. The society hopes to have a live blog on which ideas can be discussed and solutions prescribed through ordinary discussions. The society will also have working paper series and discussion paper series that will carry various ideas from different practitioners and scholars on topical issues. The society will also have a journal that will be an avenue for scholarly work with a view to informing policy.
I wish to invite scholars, practitioners in business and entrepreneurship and other stakeholders interested in Africa’s development to contribute ideas that will create change in Africa.
Professor Waswa Balunywa, PhD.
Principal, Makerere University Business School
Makerere University, Kampala (Uganda)