In 2015, the UN Member States vowed to tackle extreme poverty as one of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1). Global figures on poverty are shocking. 836 million people still live in extreme poverty – currently measured as living on less than $1,25 a day - and about one in five persons in developing regions fall into this category.
The overwhelming majority of people living in extreme poverty belong to two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The question remains which means can be used to end poverty, particularly in these regions.
According to the study carried out by I&P and the Foundation for International Development Study and Research (FERDI), investment in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will play a great role in achieving this objective, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty alleviation in Africa will not be achieved via public aid, but through empowering the poor.
In my view, one of the key tools of empowerment will be entrepreneurship. More than sixty percent of the population is young, so there is a large workforce, and there is a lot of arable land available. It is true that, when talking about entrepreneurship or success in business, money remains an important factor. But apart from money, what comes with entrepreneurship is the recognition gained, the fact of having accomplished one’s mission, of having contributed to the creation of jobs and the development of our communities, our nation and thus the whole world. And finally we contribute to reducing poverty.
So how do we get more Africans to become entrepreneurs? The population must be made aware of their potential, and this requires a change of mentality. Subsequently, they need appropriate training in the field of entrepreneurship. Knowledge is power, and with this power we can change our life.
Our programme in Benin, ExploitsMotivation, is designed to give our community the chance to take charge through training and coaching. Through our conferences and trainings, we have impacted more than 2000 people in Benin and the West African sub-region since 2014.
Are you thinking of starting an enterprise? Or do you have a great idea you want to put into action? I was recently able to publish a book, '4 Steps To Turn Your Ideas Into Business’, which might be helpful for you. In this book I answered four key questions:
- How to restore hope in you?
- What are the capacities of a good entrepreneur?
- How to get ideas?
- How to get to materialize one’s ideas?
The starting point is to restore hope in yourself, knowing that we all have the ability to succeed. To improve my own skills, I use the same tools used by those who have actually succeeded. Next, determine the qualities you need as an entrepreneur. Take a survey of successful people around you, approach every situation with positivity and turn your thoughts into a business idea that will meet ethical standards and existing laws.
Alphonse G. Affo has been a Beninese One Young World Ambassador since 2016. He is passionate about renewable energy and has worked on several water and environmental initiatives in Benin. In 2012 he founded the Energy and Hydraulics Group Africa (GESH-Africa), and in 2014 he founded EXPLOITS 2E, which focuses on solar energy initiatives. Since 2014 he has been giving trainings in entrepreneurship and leadership skills via his programme ExploitsMotivation.