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Explainers - March 1, 2021

10 trends in Social Entrepreneurship you should know about

As a continent, Africa’s population is the fastest-growing in the world. It is expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035. That will make the continent account for nearly half of the global population growth over the next two decades.

Nigeria, fondly referred to as the giant of Africa, has the largest population in Africa, estimated at 203 million people in 2020, according to the Nigeria Population Commission. That places Nigeria as the seventh-largest country in the world.  

Driven by the fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the rate of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to drop by -3.3 per cent in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years, according to the latest regional economic analysis tagged “Africa’s Pulse: Charting the Road to Recovery” released in October of 2020. These and many more challenges are what drives social entrepreneurship in every part of the world. 

The Foundational concept of social entrepreneurship involves the identification of social challenges and the adoption of innovative and entrepreneurial approaches targeted at proffering short and long term solutions. The ability to figure out  society’s varied problems and  challenges, build up structures and initiatives to solve them in most efficient and cost effective ways possible, is the clearest definition of social entrepreneurship”.

Over the years, changes in political behaviour, technological advancement, insecurity, unemployment etc., have given birth to some new approaches in dealing with social issues. Some of these approaches are discussed below.


Citizen Inclusion and Participation

Citizen participation is an old trend but the way and manner it is being achieved have changed over the years in the social entrepreneurship space. The concept is the bottom-up mechanism where citizens take an active part in decision-making, execution and evolution of projects and initiatives that are meant to improve their living. The general perception has been that increased participation would promote greater efficiency, transparency, accountability, community ownership, and so on.

In Nigeria, organisations like Tracka created in 2014 as a community of active citizens, are charged with monitoring and tracking the implementation of government projects in their various communities, to ensure service delivery. Members of such organizations track and monitor all tax-payer funded projects within their respective communities to make sure they are implemented. 

These organisations are present in over 586 local government areas across 26 states in Nigeria, have tracked over 15,859 projects in 7,589 towns and organized over 7,612 town hall meetings across the country. With increasing appeal for this public policy model, it is planned to scale to all the 36 states in Nigeria.

Politics and Governance

Several debates on the public sector reforms in Nigeria, aimed at identifying successful models in developing public sector impacts and interaction with the nation’s varied social-cultural structures and demographics have given rise to new trends in social entrepreneurship.

In 2020, we saw the birth of organizations like #FixPolitics, a citizen-led movement created to demand structural change and innovative politics in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world.  The initiative whose mission is to elevate the Office of the Citizen to its rightful place in Nigeria and Africa is using three program pillars designed to empower and engage the electorate, create and inspire a value-based political class and a reformed constitutional, political and electoral environment.

Gender Inequality

Globally, women and girls are at greater risk of poverty, violence and abuse than their male counterparts. They are more likely to be malnourished and less likely to be educated, less likely to run businesses or be in positions of leadership, and on average, earn 75 per cent less in average income per capita. 

Over 350 million women are still living in poverty, on less than $1.90 a day. That seems unbelievable in this day and age. Around 200,000 years of human existence on this planet and this is where we are.

The fight for gender equality and inclusion is a trend a lot of social entrepreneurs have given attention to. An organization like, the Feminist Coalition which is a group of young Nigerian feminists who work to promote equality for women in Nigeria, with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office, has been a voice in the fight against gender inequality…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read the rest of the interview on page 92 of our latest magazine edition: 25 Entrepreneurs and Brands to Watch in 2021.

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