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Know When to Fold Em

January 9, 2013

One of the first things most broke African entrepreneurs try to do within a few years of moving to Africa or starting a business in Africa is to acquire land. Now, of course, in some countries this is a smooth process. However, in other countries, like Ghana, the process is nearly as transparent and reliable as it should be. Because of this flaw the land disputes are innumerable and losses are high. But scared money don’t make money so sometimes, after you have done your thorough research you still have to take a gamble.

Take a friend of mine for example, who recently acquired land to build a commercial property. Now, since the commercial property is almost finished not one, but two people have come forward saying they have the rights to the land. And, yes, they too have documents to prove their ownership. So what do you do? Do you let it go to the courts and spend five or more years in litigation- to potentially lose. Or do you bite the bullet and pay the other owners off and quietly enjoy the returns on the investment latter?

If you ask me, the latter option is the better. You see, it is not only land that can be a confusing issue; when doing business in Africa, as an entrepreneur, most things will never be transparent process. Whether its hiring contractors who seem to have endless inflated expenses, getting proper documentation for your business or even registering your business. Few things in the African terrain are what they seem; therefore as an African entrepreneur you will have to take a loss from time to time.

So yes, at times you will have to pay unnecessary bribes, sometimes four times over, or squash a project because you realized that it will cost you  more to get it started than it will make you, but these are just some of the trials of an African entrepreneur. Don’t worry, you are not alone, everyone has been a victim to the market.  You should just be proud that you knew when to step out; after all as an African Gambler it could have been a lost worse.

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