Namibia ranked tops in Africa in the inaugural Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index.
The index measures entrepreneurial environments around the world, assessing 85 countries against a set of criteria that spans policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance. Singapore was the forerunner for best environment for entrepreneurs.
Namibia came 42nd overall – ahead of other prominent African markets, such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Rwanda ranked 43rd, Botswana 44th and South Africa 46th overall. While the latter three countries performed well where policy was concerned, they had some way to go to improve infrastructure and education in particular. Zambia, South Africa and Rwanda were the top three countries in Africa in the financial category. Zambia scored well on the finance pillar, mainly due to the availability of credit and a low total tax rate.
Namibia and Botswana showed stronger rankings in the education category because of comparatively higher levels of literacy and quality in education. Both countries have made education central to their development.
Rwanda scored highly in policy and finance, driven by government initiatives to increase the ease of doing business. Credit is easily available in the country and business transparency is high.
According to the report, significant challenges exist in terms of Africa’s political stability, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor education and under-diversified economies. Comparatively lower scores for infrastructure were mainly due to a lack of electrical access and the technology that comes with reliable access to energy, such as telecommunications and internet access.
Lower education scores were attributed to the overall quality of education and lower literacy rates. The report suggested that efforts should be concentrated on boosting opportunities for quality education to increase the region’s quality of entrepreneurs and start-ups and provide a suitable workforce.
Meanwhile, much of Western Europe performed well overall in the index, with the exception of Greece and Spain, who ranked relatively low (34th and 50th respectively). Both nations continue to reel from the after-effects of the financial crisis, which have been exacerbated by poor levels of entrepreneurial opportunities.
The research, conducted by the Mara Foundation and Opinium Research, examines the state of entrepreneurship around the world. The index is the brainchild of entrepreneur Ashish J Thakkar.