Authors: Gido Mapunda
The paper argues that leadership and Social entrepreneurship can play a significant role in community development, especially in emerging or developing economies of Sub-Sahara Africa. Social entrepreneurship is an area where there is potential for these economies to make significant socio-economic development and advancement for their citizens, especially at the grassroots level. This assumes effective, proactive leadership and appropriate community development strategies.
Arguably, simple entrepreneurship at the grassroots level is widespread in Tanzania and the rest of Sub-Sahara Africa. Individuals or families are engaged in it often out of necessity. Most Africans who start their own business do so as something of last resort and as a means of survival rather than a preferred pathway to wealth accumulation and becoming rich. These are ‘necessity’ entrepreneurs. In fact, it is often said that there are many ‘necessity entrepreneurs’ in Africa, that is, people who start micro businesses to supplement their income or open small retail shops because that is the only way for them to earn a living or make ends meet (Sriram and Mersha, 2006). Social entrepreneurship is fairly underdeveloped in sub-Sahara, but it is an area that needs attention from government and community leaders in these economies. Micro or small scale businesses, while not making their owners rich, play an important role and are an integral part of African life especially at the grassroots level – they help sustain peoples’ livelihoods. In the case of Tanzania, and similar other emerging economies in the region, these businesses are found not only in cities, towns and urban centers but also in remove country areas- highlighting their significance and importance to their communities. Micro or small businesses provide essential products and services, which include transport, clothing, fuel, food, telecommunications, eateries, entertainment centers, furniture, and non-prescription medicines to those who can afford them. It is widely accepted that government agencies and institutions are not doing enough especially for ordinary citizens – these small businesses are filling a socio-economic void or vacuum.
Keywords: Leadership, Social entrepreneurship, Community development, Tanzania, Sub-Sahara Africa