A 2019 survey on African youth found that among people from the countries surveyed—Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and the Republic of the CongoSouth Africans were the least entrepreneurial, with 47% of the respondents intending to start a business in the next five years. This is compared to an average of 76% in the countries studied, with the top countries being Malawi, Togo, and Senegal at 90%, 90% and 88% respectively.

Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, which commissioned the survey, says South Africa needs to overcome “some serious structural challenges” in order for entrepreneurship to solve South Africa’s job crisis. One key issue, he says, is lack of an education system that prepares the youth to become digital entrepreneurs. Many private sector initiatives are training people in science, math, and technology in schools, he says.

“There are centers of excellence that really are getting this right but if government and the education system is able to up the ante just a little bit, the change will be exponential,” he says.

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