In a recent article by David Pilling, the focus on large corporations as the solution to Africa’s poverty overlooks the important impact of micro-entrepreneurs in regions that are often neglected by big businesses. The World Bank highlights that extreme poverty is still prevalent in remote and conflict-ridden areas, where smaller enterprises can flourish.
Programs aimed at tackling 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 emphasized by Shameran Abed, executive director of Brac International, and Esther Duflo of MIT.
The path to eradicating extreme poverty in Africa is not a one-size-fits-all approach; 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 holistic approach to development in Africa.