Too many policymakers think in terms of traditional aid when they think of support for Africa and the developing world. I think of Shadi Sabeh. Shadi is a young man from Sokoto in northern Nigeria – a region currently struggling with a lack of opportunity and economic engagement, especially for the youth. Shadi might well have become mired in frustration, but instead leveraged his entrepreneurial drive to start an education business in Sokoto that already employs over 100 people.
As the recipient of the Tony and Awele Elumelu Prize for Economics from Usman Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, I took him with me this week as my guest to a White House event hosted by President Obama, and to a lecture I delivered on ‘Entrepreneur Led Development: A New Development Model for Africa’ at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. In so doing, he served as a model for the most promising approach for promoting growth in Africa and creating stability and security everywhere.
What Shadi’s story tells us is simple: Entrepreneurship is the most effective way to establish true prosperity. Only entrepreneurship can create sustainable wealth – the wealth that comes from employment and ownership, and that results in thriving markets and a healthy society.
Only entrepreneurship can create opportunity where none seemingly exists.
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