Factors That Affect the Commercialization of Ideas in Africa

By: Ciuci

/ April 26, 2024



According to the World Bank, Africa is home to the world’s youngest population, with more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, and is expected to constitute 42% of the global youth population by 2030 (World Bank, 2022).

This demographic presents a significant opportunity for the commercialization of ideas and entrepreneurship on the continent (Acha & Signé, 2019). It is predicted that Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa would soon account for half of the continent’s population (Signe, 2019). This presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas, as these growing populations could lead to a growing demand for new products and services (Acha & Signé, 2019).

However, despite this potential, Africa’s ability to commercialize ideas has been hampered by several challenges (Asongu & Odhiambo, 2020). According to the African Development Bank, more than 80% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa lack access to finance, adequate entrepreneurial skills, and are affected by government policies which limits their ability to invest in innovation and expand their businesses (African Development Bank, 2019).

Entrepreneurs and innovators commercialize their creative ideas in order to benefit customers, advance the economy, and improve the quality of life of their customers (Balachandra et al, 2010).

Donald et al., (2003) defines commercialization as the process by which research results are transformed into new products and services that can be marketed and sold to customers, including the identification and protection of intellectual property, the development of  usiness plans and marketing.


Commercialization of Ideas

In commercializing ideas, the principle of ideation comes into play. Martin (2009) defined ideation as the process of generating, developing, and refining creative ideas and concepts. It is an essential part of the creative problem solving process.

Figure 1: The ideation process (The ideation process as synthesized from the works of Al-Debei & Avison, 2008 and Van der Meijden, 2017). When ideation is fostered in the Nigerian economy, the commercialization of ideas is likely to become more seamless, potentially leading to significant economic growth, poverty reduction, and innovation in technology and various sectors (Leke & Signe, 2018).

There are numerous benefits associated with the commercialization of ideas in Nigeria including:

A report by the World Bank Group’s Doing Business project ranked Nigeria 131 out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business in 2022. The report and other researchers highlighted the challenges of starting a business, dealing with permits, enforcing contracts, leadership, access to finance, and quality education (World Bank, 2022; Gumel, 2017). This highlights the volatile, uncertain, complex, and  ambiguous (VUCA) nature of the Nigerian business environment (World Bank Group, 2022).

To read the full report, download using the link below.


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