Emerald Publishing Launches the Book ‘Developing Africa’s Financial Services – The Importance of High Impact Entrepreneurship’ which features Equity Bank’s story of financial inclusion.
In conjunction with World Bank, Emerald Publishing has just published and launched the book ‘Developing Africa’s Financial Services- The Importance of High Impact Entrepreneurship’. The insightful book delivers a compelling argument for the idea that a key way to lift African Economies is through indigenous high impact entrepreneurs. This is because they know how to best act as role models for other Africans and inspire other fellow entrepreneurs. The book focuses on the African region which despite many challenges has seen tremendous growth in recent years and is quickly becoming a global powerhouse.
Professor Dana Redford, the book’s editor and President of the Policy Experimentation and Evaluation Platform (PEEP), noted that a viable financial sector is a key condition for wider economic growth and finance is a vital component of the entrepreneurial ecosystem surrounding new venture creation. The book included case studies of financial institutions in Africa which are; Banco Unico of Mozambique, Fidelity Bank in Ghana, Banco Atlántico in Angola and Equity Bank of Kenya. The stories behind each of these banks show us the opportunities that vibrant African Societies present for risk takers.
In a report done in 2014 by the World Economic Forum, entrepreneurship decreased unemployment by 20%. This is because high impact entrepreneurs grow faster, create more jobs, contribute to society and transform industries to a greater extent than their peers. The report also stated that out of every 4% of entrepreneurs, 2% are high-risk entrepreneurs.
So what would prompt an aspiring entrepreneur to buy this book? The stories behind each of these financial institutions provide an invaluable reference for students, practitioners, and policymakers with an interest in the future of Africa’s financial services in regards to entrepreneurship. One of the case studies which was our very own Equity Bank of Kenya depicts how the bank is a strong partner for aspiring entrepreneurs and how it promotes financial inclusion. As it tells the Equity Bank Story, it focuses on how the bank has approached its customers using an entrepreneurial culture and mindset which is a pre-condition for the success of any business. Equity Bank was started primarily to cater to the lower and middle-class income earner. These humble beginnings have inspired its positioning and contributed to the success of the bank.
The Bank which is a hub for many entrepreneurs is often praised for its approach which centres on entrepreneurial capabilities such as; acquisition of human capital, development of employees, utilization of staff capabilities and maintenance by staff retention. It is just not about financing these entrepreneurial ventures, it is about training and mentoring these entrepreneurs preparing them for success. Through their many initiatives, Equity Bank currently has 1.6 million entrepreneurs who include farmers, women, youth groups and micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
During the launch, a panel discussion which was moderated by Julie Gichuru who is a media personality and entrepreneur in her own right focused on issues surrounding entrepreneurship in Kenya and Africa as a whole. The panellists included; Vimal Shah the Chairman of Bidco Group, Dr George Njenga The Founding Dean of Strathmore Business School, Phyllis Wakiaga the Kenya Manufacturers (KAM) CEO, Dr James Mwangi the CEO of Equity Group and Professor Dana Redford the book’s editor.
The panellists’ highlighted issues that can promote entrepreneurial growth in Kenya which included; Change of societal mindset, capacity building so that many may be exposed to entrepreneurial knowledge, an increase of partnerships between the public and private sectors and pro-industry policies that promote consumption of local content. There was a discussion on how the issue of teaching entrepreneurship in our schools is a subject that should be tabled for discussion.
The speakers agreed that more entrepreneurs need to record their stories of success in order to inspire other entrepreneurs through mentorship and inspiration. There was also a general consensus that entrepreneurship will play a huge role in eradicating poverty and unemployment. In a recent report, Kenya needs at least 3.9 million jobs by 2020 for young people. This puts the number of currently unemployed people at 1.5 million against a population of 48 million.
The book is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Developing-Africas-Financial-Services-Entrepreneurship/dp/178714187X. You can also visit the project’s website for more information http://www.highimpactafrica.org/ and the Policy Experimentation and Evaluation Platform at http://peep.pt/