The Launch of: The First National Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report in Sudan

With the rise of macro-economic variables and a dire need for economic growth, entrepreneurship stimulates the willingness to start up innovative and functional enterprises through execution of risks. In order to asses entrepreneurial activity and the behavior of individuals with respect to starting and managing a business, Babson College and the London Business School initiated the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) in 1999. This global consortium, is now the largest and most developed scientific research program, with over a hundred participating economies and national teams from all over the world.

In 2018, Sudan has participated for the first time in the GEM Project, thanks to the efforts of many experts on the field who believe in the value of scientific research to lead desirable change and accelerate economic and social well-being. The first national report was sponsored by the ENABLE Youth Program from the African Development Bank and was implemented mainly by a team of experts from Ahfad University for Women (AUW) in collaboration with Impact Hub Khartoum (IHK) and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community (IEC).

On the 12th of October, 2020, Ahfad University for Women hosted an event for the launch of the First National Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report in Mahmoud Elshaikh Hall. The event brought together core stakeholders and experts in all areas of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, in order to orient them with the GEM – Sudan Project and exhibit the results of the first study. There were various representatives from the Ministry of Livestock, and Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, private sectors such as Dal Group and Zain Group, representatives from banks and financial agences such as the Microfinance Guarantee Agency and the Farmer Commercial Bank, organizations such as the Arab Authority for Agricultural Development and the African Development Bank, Mr. Waleed Wadessa and Ms. Anette Hoffmann from the German Embassy, Mr. Sjoerit Smit from the Kingdom of Netherland Embassy to name a few.

Dr. Salih Khairalla, the program coordinator and the first speaker in the event, talked about the importance of changes and development needed for the Sudanese economy to grow, and the challenges young entrepreneurs face from policy-makers in their access to finances and the burden of taxes. It discourages them from investing in business ventures that may potentially fail. He also mentioned that academic institutions should aim to make graduates as business-oriented rather than job seekers. Dr. Murtada Kamal, a representative of the Business Union Sudan, believes that the challenge lies in marketing and denotes an importance in attracting young people to agriculture, since it makes up a third of the economic sector in Sudan.

(Dr. Widad Ali Abdulrahman giving a speech)

Dr. Widad Ali Abdulrahman, an associate professor in the School of Management Studies at AUW, and also a member of the GEM – Sudan National Team, gave an overview of the report and mentioned the appreciation of the responsible body for handing it during a time where Sudan was facing hardships and difficulties. She also mentioned that the report was going in the right track to bring to the surface issues that would have otherwise been ignored. Mr. Abdulkadir Turkawi, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has seen from the report significant improvements but there are still areas that need to be fixed. Prof. Gasim Badri, president of Ahfad University for Women, gave a word on the importance of entrepreneurship and how the government should work to develop it.

Many of the audience members believe that it will be difficult for the Sudanese economy to grow, with the black market contributing to the skyrocketing inflation rates, but this report, as Mr. Jorge Naranjo Alcaide said, “will help foreign investors that may think of investing in Sudan. They will have some points of reference to design their businesses.”

Due to the crisis of COVID-19, there are not many expectations of progress in the next year’s report. But just as Mr. Mohammed AlSaeed - head of the Supply Chain department in the School of Management Studies at AUW and also a member of the GEM – Sudan National Team - said “it should give policy-makers enough time to take into consideration and implement the recommendations mentioned in the report.”

(Mr. Mohammed AlSaeed interviewed by two of the Ahfad Media Agents)

The first national Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report acts as a benchmark for future reports. The results of the report cover all the twelve states and reflect core elements pertinent to the entrepreneurship status in Sudan and, in comparison, to other countries. We hope to see Sudan in the top 20 ranking in future GEM reports.

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