The colonization of Africa has a long history comprising of phases from the European Scramble for Africa during the late 19th and early 20th century to the Soviet Scramble in the late 20thcentury. Both Western and Soviet imperialism in Africa were evil.  However, during the cold war, Western imperialism in Africa might be said to be relatively imperialism with a human face when compared to Soviet imperialism that simply supplied Africans with only arms and Western imperialism supplied food and medicine in addition to arms. Africa experienced major culture clashes which derived from the impact of economic, political, social and religious factors on the indigenous societies of Africa. 

Colonialism and imperialism are often used interchangeably, but they are two different words having different meaning. As both colonialism and Imperialism means political and economic domination of the other, scholars often find it hard to differentiate the two.Imperialism as defined by Alexandra Hrituleac is “the process of establishing colonial (formal) and neo-colonial relationships (informal)”.  In a colonial relationship, the people and resources of one country called the colonized country are subjected to the power, authority and control of another of country called the colonial master; usually a ‘servant-slave’ relationship whose human and material resources primarily serve the interest of the master. A neo-colonial relationship on the other hand is more subtle where the people and resources of a country has the outward appearance and trappings of an independent country but poor and relatively weak subjected indirectly and informally to the power, authority and control of the rich and powerful states of the world.

Therefore, corporate imperialism can be concluded to mean “a business takeover of big-rich (or in this case, developed) countries like Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Soviet Unionover small poorer countries like Africa and Latin America and Asia”. The impacts of corporate imperialism by “imperialists” in Africa over the years and even at recent times cannot be over emphasised. These have impacted the economic, social and political structures of the African economy.

MSMEs the drivers of the Economy

The Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says that MSMEs currently represent 96% of the businesses in Nigeria and contributes 75% of the national employment. Of the 17.2 million MSMEs in Nigeria over 17 Million are micro-enterprises. Thus, the growth in this sector is directly correlated with the growth in the economy and in curbing unemployment in Nigeria.

However, a number of challenges are inhibiting the potential of MSMEs in Nigeria. Prominent among these challenges are (a) Very low access to affordable finance (b) Poor access to Business Development Service (BDS), and (c) Inadequate infrastructure/high cost of doing business. Despite these, it has not deterred MSMEs from contributing to Nigeria’s economic growth. Here are a few ways MSMEs are doing this:

Encourages entrepreneurship
MSMEs are the product of the business owner’s entrepreneurial spirit. By starting a small business, the business owner is taking charge of his or her future. Entrepreneurship fuels Nigeria’s economic innovation and prosperity and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. Hence, there is no need to wait for the government’s empowerment programmes. You can empower yourself by leveraging on digital technology to start a business

Local jobs
Small businesses are job creators despite the many challenges they face. They have enabled a certain cadre of Nigerians to earn a living. A company that supports these MSMEs is Jumia . Jumia, Nigeria’s no 1 shopping destination via, Jumia Lending, has supported the millions of vendors selling on its platform with small loans and ensuring that they are run smoothly without any hiccups. Jumia lending gives small businesses the opportunity to grow and expand their businesses by granting vendors access to fast and easy short-term capital. With this capital, these vendors are able to employ more hands thus creating more jobs and the society will be better for it.

Innovation and competition
Small businesses, like any business, need to stand out from the crowd in order to survive. They must serve a legitimate need in Nigeria and do it better than their competitors. Having multiple small businesses all striving to be unique, innovative, and better can result in a healthy marketplace and well-served consumers.

Investing in products and services people need

What motivates a person to start a new business? Small businesses create new businesses in response to unmet needs and demands in the market. That is, there is an opportunity to provide a product or service that is not currently in existence, or otherwise available.

New technologies promote efficiency
The ability to turn ideas into new products and services that people need is important in a developing country like Nigeria. This is driven by new technologies and creative applications. With more and more small businesses embracing technology to boost service delivery, they have positioned themselves to earn more revenue and contribute to the growth of the economy.