Development Initiatives

Germany is trying to build the next Silicon Valley

http://www.businessinsider.com/germany-is-trying-to-build-the-next-silicon-valley-2015-3

This article is interesting.  Germany recognises what role a government should play in fostering a climate in which entrepreneurship can thrive. I’ve encountered many views on this, and from my own experiences with SMEs have formed parallel if not views that are convergent with those expressed in this article.

Unlike most African countries, Germany has a stable and dependable communications infrastructure which means people have affordable access to information and can communicate at reasonable cost – which is important when incubating new companies. In addition,  Germany has a dependable transport network (You can easily get to Germany’s regional cities from most major cities across the world ) which means entrepreneurs can travel easily when they need to – and at a reasonable cost. And finally Germany has reliable power supply.

Further,  there are many facilities in the form of business centres and institutions where newly formed companies can find cheap office space, in the early days when they are trying to minimise costs. To this add a supply of talent from good universities, and the availability of ample opportunities to be able to network with like-minded entrepreneurs. Looking at these factors alone the recipe for success is almost guaranteed, if it wasn’t for the constraints mentioned in the article above.
But assuming Germany did overcome those challenges, whether their industry would grow to match Silicon Valley is an entirely different question.

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However,  what our economies across Africa can learn from this is that to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in the IT sector,  these factors must be firmly addressed. In addition, there must be an increase in access to Venture Capital and our countries need to have functional property rights laws that work for both small companies and big companies. To this end, some lessons can be learned from Kenya, which is making incredible strides in the IT sector.

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