Many years ago, I was given a very interesting proposal, whilst visiting a certain wealthy country:
“Would you consider moving permanently to our country?”
The man asking was a very senior government official, in that country. “If you move to our country, we will give you residence, a passport, and fast track to citizenship. We will even consider funding to support some of the ventures that you do here.” I could hardly believe my ears; someone was actually trying to recruit me, to change my citizenship!
“Why?” I asked surprised.
“You are a proven ‘job creator’. We need people like you, to come and create jobs. Entrepreneurs create jobs, and you are good at what you do. We have done our research on you. There is nothing more important for us than creating jobs for our young people.”
I smiled, thanked him politely, before declining the generous offer. I nevertheless proceeded to lead a venture that created jobs for his country.
Businesses and ventures that I have started or been involved with as a business person, over the last 29 years, have created more than 100,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. Entrepreneurs create jobs. There is nothing more important than creating jobs for our young people. I cannot imagine anything more important at the moment, and more urgent, particularly in Africa. Our very future depends on it! With 60% of our population under the age of 30 years old; creating skilled jobs for our young people, is the greatest challenge facing Africa.
The most sustainable way to create jobs is to create policies that encourage entrepreneurship, and through it investment. We have to value our entrepreneurs, as real partners of development. We cannot choose to treat them as criminals. We must acknowledge their contributions, and celebrate them.
Some of the most successful countries in the world actually have active programs to recruit entrepreneurs from other countries. Such is the recognition they give to people who create jobs.
Even if you employ just one person; even if that person is your daughter or nephew, you are an employment creator and a very important person to your country.
By STRIVE MASIYIWA