Some Socio-Cultural Issues in Entrepreneurship Development among Some Groups in Nigeria

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Abstract

This paper used focus group discussions to identify the impacts of the extended family system and gender on entrepreneurship among the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba who constitute more than half of the Nigerian total population The study started by examining the various programmes introduced to encourage entrepreneurship in Nigeria using secondary data from both local and international sources. It was found that despite spirited efforts by Nigerian government to encourage entrepreneurship, little has been achieved. The extended family system and gender were implicated in the state of entrepreneurial activities among the study population. The paper concluded by recommending programmes and policies that consider the local peculiarities, an adaptation of foreign mediated entrepreneurial development programmes to local context and an educational policy targeted at changing the values and customs that are anti-entrepreneurial.

Introduction

Entrepreneurship occupies an important place in the process of economic development. It has become a key concept in social and human development discourse; it is considered to be a factor of economic and human development (Abubakar, 2010). Weber (1904) in his famous work "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" posits that the great development experienced in the Western world was a result of entrepreneurial features present in those societies. In advanced industrialized nations, increased entrepreneurial activity serves to reposition dying industries; provides new jobs to compensate for employment problems created by corporate restructuring and downsizing; and to generally enhance economic flexibility and growth (Mueller and Thomas, 2000). It is also a catalyst for technological progress (Reynolds, 1987). Shapero (1981) describes entrepreneurs hip as key to self-renewing economies.

In less developed countries, on the other hand, entrepreneurship functions in the following areas: stimulation of economic growth (Harper, 1991); replacement of crumbling state- owned enterprises, some of which are legacies of colonial rule; a means of employment generation; and an avenue for empowering the disadvantaged portion of the population especially the womenfolk. This reality, coupled with globalization, which is creating a convergence of economic thoughts in the globalized world, has led various levels of government in Nigeria to institute measures that enhance entrepreneurial activities. Such measures /programmes are categorized into two:

1 . Entrepreneurship Development Programmes and Institutions

2. Finance and Micro- credit Programmes and Institutions.

The first category comprises policies and programmes aimed at stimulating, developing and enhancing the productive capacities of entrepreneurs, while the second category consists in measures at providing stress-free credit facilities for entrepreneurs as shown in table I.

On the whole, the aggregate goals of these policies and programmes include, among others, poverty reduction and employment generation.

It is to be seen, however, that in the area of employment generation, the programmes have not contributed significantly to ameliorating unemployment situation. Any useful analysis of Nigeria's unemployment data is very difficult, if not impossible. The difficulty arises from the highly unreliable data sourcing process in the country. Between 1990 and 1999, unemployment rate averaged 2.92%, with the highest being 3.5% for 1990 and the lowest 1.8% for 1995. Fairly realistic estimates have been collected since 2000 through 2002. The average for the period is 14.67%, with 2000 rate being 18.1%.

To put the unemployment situation in the country in proper perspective, other reliable statistical indices could serve as guides. Between 1970 and 1990, average capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector fell from 85.2% to 40.3%. The rate further fell to 39.6% in 2001 from 42 % in 1991. …