Last month, I visited my village of Ovim in Southeastern Nigeria. I met a painter who also manufactures the paint he uses for his work. According to him, his business nearly collapsed early in the year when he could not access the foreign exchange market to import the raw materials required for his paint production. At that time, the Nigerian central bank was running a currency control regime which stifled the importation of goods for small businesses.
But despite these challenges, the painter came up with new ideas to keep his business going. He created a new type of paint, from non-toxic materials, using materials sourced locally. The new paint has no smell and dries within minutes of application. I was impressed. I invested in his business and told him that people like him are the future for Africa.
My experience is typical in the continent these days. As one travels from Nairobi to Lagos and from Dakar to Kigali, a feeling of optimistic exuberance emerges because African-inspired institutions are forming. The collapse of the commodity boom has pushed countries and their citizens to invent other ways to survive because benefits like unbridled imports are no longer sustainable. Now many things are coming together which will help transform some African economies by the sheer power of their entrepreneurs. READ HERE.