Pan African Connection
Bringing Literacy, Education and Development to disadvantaged communities across Africa
Small business whomsoever’s definition is used is a basic term that denotes a small number of
employees. Aside from its definition small business is anything but small.
In Japan, over 90% of the jobs that the Japanese economy sustains are held in what they term micro or
small business. Only a scant 6% of the economy’s jobs are held by the names recognized world-wide
such as Toyota, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji and so on. This is an astounding fact if you really think of it and
this is the world second most powerful economy. (written in 2009)
That mature economy has diversified over the years to the point that entrepreneurial activity; which was
fostered historically by government action, in the areas of education, finances, taxation and the climate
of fostering business. This is the archetypical knowledge based economy.
Pan-African Connection’s promoting the development of local economies in rural Africa stems out of
the two observations made about the outmoded development paradigm and the need to leapfrog over
steps that are no longer available to thread over. Meaningful jobs in the rural sector can and must be
created to lift the standard of living out of deep poverty, start the process of wealth creation locally which
is the only way that sustainable growth can be accomplished.
In a country such as Zambia the sector of the population that holds a formal job (by this is meant one
that the government has recorded) is only 600,000 strong out of a potential 10 times that amount. If we
were to take the statistician’s position, we would have to agree that the rest (90%) of employable
people do not exist economically.
But this is not the case; the amount of economic activity does not bear this out; what the vast majority of
those are that fall below the statistician’s line of sight, simply underemployed, many obviously out of
legal means to make money. But a great many are self-employed doing a wide variety of activities and
services for those in other parts of the economy, from washing cars, carrying loads, self-employed
skilled workers, independent sales people, etc.
Many opportunities exist to bring the under-reported and earning good money into a proper statistically
validated self-employment status; a great deal of these workers, meet the criteria of small business
(as contract workers) some of them, earning nearly twice as much as full time teacher working for the
government in a primary school, yet they are going unrecognized for their economic participation.
Efforts on the part of government to integrate them into the mainstream of the economy should be more
aggressively pursued; although the methods of integration should employ white gloves. This issue is a
parallel to opportunities for self-employment and contract work in the rural communities; but once
again, as skills and competencies are developed.
Note should be taken that in developed countries, those working but not making more than a certain
amount over the poverty level; actually get a tax credit or even a small amount of money if they have
dependent children. The way forward to get a better economic foothold needs to integrate all levels of
economic activity into the mainstream.
Pan African Connection