Africa’s poverty has long been a topic of discussion, with large corporations often being proposed as the solution. However, a recent article by David Pilling highlights the important impact of micro-entrepreneurs in regions that are often overlooked by big businesses. These smaller enterprises can thrive in remote and conflict-ridden areas where larger businesses may struggle to survive.
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.
The path to eradicating extreme poverty in Africa is not a singular one; it is as varied as the continent’s challenges and opportunities. A comprehensive strategy is necessary, one that integrates proven methodologies with the development of larger businesses to create a resilient and inclusive economic landscape across Africa. Taddeo Muriuki, Chief Government Relations Officer at Village Enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the impact of smaller enterprises in addressing poverty and advocating for a comprehensive approach to development in Africa.