LIVE STREAMING
Photo Linn Washington Jr.
Photo Linn Washington Jr.

Immigrant entrepreneurs: A universal drive for a better life

When Mike Yakusu arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, nearly two decades ago, this immigrant born in the perennially war-ravaged Congo didn’t have much more…

MORE IN THIS SECTION

"The Lincoln Lawyer"

May 20th, 2022

A well-deserved award

May 20th, 2022

Camilo's new single

May 19th, 2022

SHARE THIS CONTENT:

Yakusu came to Cape Town from Angola where his work for a family member delivering goods to areas in southern Angola became too dangerous because battles raged daily. 

Yakusu saw too many of his close friends in Angola killed doing the same delivery work. He knew the probability of sudden death loomed too large if he stayed in Angola doing what he was doing despite that job providing the desperately needed income that led him to Angola in the first place.

South Africa, like the United States, is a magnet for many immigrants. Immigrants come because South Africa affords economic advancement opportunities unavailable in their homelands, places where dire conditions too often come from exploitative international financial and political forces. 

That glimmer in South Africa of possible economic advancement draws immigrants like Yakusu from across sub-Saharan Africa (East-West-Central). Immigrants come irrespective of South Africa having one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality. 

Nearly 50 percent of persons in South Africa live in poverty, nearly double Philadelphia’s poverty rate. Impoverished South Africans live on incomes of less than $100 U.S. dollars per month and that’s if they are lucky because most of South Africa’s poor survive on far less income. Incredibly, bad conditions for Philadelphia’s poor are far better than what impoverished South Africans experience.

Yakusu knows the deprivations of living poor in South Africa. When he first arrived, he lived homeless and worked basically scrounging for pocket change from kind-hearted drivers who he directed to already free on-street parking spaces. 

Immigrants do contribute much to the economic growth and economic well being of their adopted countries rather they live in Philadelphia or Cape Town.

Like many immigrants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and around America, the ever-enterprising Yakusu turned to entrepreneurship – he created his own business as a driver where he takes residents of Cape Town and visitors to that beautiful city to their destinations.

Yakusu worked his way up from hustling pocket-change from persons parking to owning a car service with three vehicles where he is able to employ others. He often drives seven days a week, even 100-mile daily trips taking tourists down to the Cape of Good Hope.

“People ask me how I have what I have? I work hard. I work hard!” Yakusu said during a conversation with a customer while driving back to Cape Town from the famed wine region outside Stellenbosch.

In Philadelphia, there are between 40,000-and-50,000+ business owned by immigrant entrepreneurs according to varying figures contained in separate reports issued last year by the American Immigration Council and the New America Economy conducted in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigration.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are nearly ten percent of all self-employed persons in Pennsylvania according to that American Immigration Council report. Those immigrant entrepreneurs generate $1.2-billion in business income.

Immigrants do contribute much to the economic growth and economic well being of their adopted countries rather they live in Philadelphia or Cape Town.

  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
00:00 / 00:00
Ads destiny link