A few weeks ago, former IMF Economist and current MIT Sloan Professor posted in the NY Times Economix Blog about the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report, and mentioned Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa several times:
First, when the overall environment for business is bad, there are many entrepreneurs. For example, while there is a great deal of variation shown by the data within Africa, it is also clear that this is a difficult place to do business, because, for example, regulation is unpredictable and property rights can be hard to defend against powerful people.
Lack of human capital is also a weakness. You need capable engineers, managers and many others to help companies grow. The education system in many African countries is not in good shape.
Yet, there are plenty of potential entrepreneurs in the study: “Sub-Saharan Africa reported the highest intentions of any geographic region (53 percent), which is consistent with their positive perceptions about opportunities and their belief in their capabilities” (Table 2.2).
The explanation is simple. In such economies, entrepreneurship is a fallback option, when it is not possible to get a decent job in larger business.
The full report is here, wherein the reader will note that, while the GEM Report astonishingly surveyed nearly 200,000 people in 69 countries, representing 87% of the world's GDPs and 74% of its population, only 10 Sub-Saharan African states were included: Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Namibia. Of these, only Malawi is anywhere close to the developmental stature of present-day Liberia.