Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity - by David Fick (Author)

By Mwiti Marete Kigali, Rwanda

Day in the Sun for Africa's Hard-Nosed Entrepreneurs David Fick's "Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity" reads like a "Who is Who" list of hard-nosed African entrepreneurs who have fished in life's dustbins and weathered the elements with astounding results. The 512-page volume is based on his belief that the second largest continent has immense potential that only waits to be tapped, and his confidence in her citizens' creativity, resilience and industry. "While many write off Africa as the continent of despair, other enterprising individuals and organisations have recognized the huge, untapped potential of Africa and are actively pursuing business ventures across the continent," says the book. The book features brief descriptions of these successful entrepreneurs and their ongoing enterprises in Africa. Each story captures the spirit behind these successes and highlights how they are not only creating countless job opportunities in 53 African countries but also bringing immeasurable improvement to the quality of life in African communities Recognising the African entrepreneurs who are making dreams come true - albeit the hard way - Fick says he wrote the book to create awareness on the obstacles and successes of entrepreneurship in Africa, "to tell the story of people and their communities that are successful in developing Africa". "By sounding out African entrepreneurs about the visions they harbour of their continent, I have tried to present the successes and the philosophies of these entrepreneurs, and also the philosophies of the economists, educators and political readers who are interested in developing Africa to its full potential for the benefit of Africans and the world," Fick writes. And he is optimistic. "'Old' Africa is well known for its many challenges," writes Fick. "In a 'new' Africa, the continent's challenges will be addressed and overcome with new strategies, new approaches and new ways of doing things, in order for Africa's vast opportunities to be exploited for the benefit of its entire people." Besides calling for the developed world to come to Africa's aid, he prescribes regional cooperation as the cure for the continent's many woes. "A successful AU will empower all of Africa, not merely the strong countries," Fick observes, and predicts: "Africa's abundant resources will then benefit the health, education and wellbeing of all Africans." He concludes with an array of proposals on how to make life on the continent brighter - aptly called "Africa's Future"............................................ What "Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity" offers is a rich menu of information - and inspiration - for readers across the divide: policy makers, practising and potential entrepreneurs, scholars, and leisure seekers. Simply put, it is Africa's newest package for global consumption. For the optimistic, it reinforces their resolve to make Africa a better place for all; for the pessimist, it is a jolting disproval of the old, misplaced depiction of Africa as "the Dark Continent". And few can be as authoritative on the issues addressed in this book as David S. Fick, a graduate of Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania who has spent his entire business career as an entrepreneur in Kansas and has travelled widely, including to Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. He has visited Africa's other 50 countries via research by means of the Internet and e-mail correspondence, corresponding with entrepreneurs in all the 53 countries and asking for their corrections and improvements to their rough draft text. Add this to the rich bibliography of speeches by international opinion leaders and reports by credible international bodies and the Media. And true to his confessed passion for a vibrant economic environment in Africa, Fick has published with an African firm, and his distributors are selected from local booksellers, according to an earlier e-mail interview with this writer. Again, the book is not a money-making venture: the author has donated his entire royalties to charity. To cap it all, the cover illustration is derived from the artwork "Africa Connections", a batik by Nuwa Nnyanzi from Uganda.

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