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The economic landscape and the MDGS

In 2000, rich and poor nations met at the United Nations Millennium Summit and committed themselves to ending poverty across the globe by 2015. These goals would be known as the MDGs, with the very first being to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. With just two years left to go, South Africa and many other nations are struggling to meet that target. Ladzani quotes Naidoo from his article, Entrepreneurship could cure South Africa’s growing unemployment crisis, citing a United Nations report that 74.8 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed worldwide, while 6.4 million youths drop out of the labour force globally. A labour force survey paints an even bleaker picture with youth unemployment increasing by 9.9 percent in a particular quarter in 2012 while an Adcorp study revealed that 600 000 university graduates remained unemployed despite 800 000 vacancies being available in the formal job sector. 

The 2011 South African Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report revealed a significant decline in entrepreneurial levels among South Africa’s youth. Entrepreneurship levels of people aged between the ages of 18 and 34 declined significantly by 16% between 2010 and 2011. “These statistics are very worrying and show signs of an unhealthy entrepreneurial culture in South Africa. The manner in which a country supports and recognises its entrepreneurs determines the culture of entrepreneurship and, ultimately, moulds the future of the economy,” Ladzani says. While South Africa has its own set of challenges, it can at least boast significant development and infrastructure when compared to many African countries that are characterised by civil unrest, corruption and poverty. 

Ladzani notes despite this, many Western countries are scrambling to get a piece of the African pie. The continent has a growing middle class, is experiencing sustained growth levels and has the fastest growing economies in the world. David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom stated that Africa’s relationship with the West was becoming “trade rather than aid,” and US President Barack Obama concluded numerous business deals when he recently visited Africa. “As much as the west may want to give a helping hand to Africa, it too has its own interests at heart. Is it not high time that Africans came to realise that solutions to African economic challenges lie in Africa and Africans should rise to the challenge of addressing their own challenges?”

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