Leadership is the engine that moves every country or groups of people forward in different spaces of life. Leadership in itself can be defined in different ways by different people.
I interpret leadership as the ability to identify the ideal situation for your constituency and mobilize resources and talents to adequately address the problems questions at hand.
Based on our colonial past here in Africa,there exists a need for the continent to be truly liberated in the latter and spirit of what liberty means for Africa,free of colonial influence. This includes the way we see ourselves as a continent. For example seeing Africa as a continent that’s always in need of western help. A continent that is synonymous with poverty,for more examples.
This past week I have had two days of critical engagement and thinking over the universal declaration of human right with the Quaker organization;American friends.We learnt about human rights ,why they’re important and as well as what gave rise to their adoption.
I began to challenge myself about the continent. There are so many human rights violations currently happening in Africa which most of us are just complacent about. E.g. I learnt that going hungry and being denied access to basic services is a human rights violations. These issues have-for the longest time,being embedded in our continent and we do not deal with them enough. The present leadership in Africa in any spheres has to protect human rights. The leadership in our continent has to held accountable for human rights violations because I truly believe human rights form the very basis of a successful future.
In the present we need to strengthen out institutions and create environments which are conducive for growth. The recipe to a successful continent is not dependent on one factor at a time. But simply having an army of cooperative systems which support one another.For exaple a powerful judiciary. A stern environment to enforce the rule of law and viable macroeconomic ecosystem to encourage economic growth and inclusion.
If Africa’s institutions are strong ,it is fairly certain we shall have favorable externalities. The current leadership in governments as well as the emergence of Africa’s new wave of youth leaders need to work towards having environments which improves people’s propensity to be part of the economy and contribute towards the continent’s success. Issues around joblessness and income inequality gaps redress is perhaps some of the most important considerations which Africa’s leadership needs to look at.
Africa’s leadership for the future has to succeed in addressing some of the hardships our people go through on a daily. We need to tie those with re-imagining Africa in the twenty first century. This past week at one of our sessions we were asked by a facilitator what our individual goals and aspirations for the future is. One of our sawip participants said “To make Africa great again”.
This was a seemingly witty remark given the popular “make America great again” synonymous with Donald Trump. But this rang so many bells in my head.
How do we make Africa great for the future ? How do we tie sustainability and access within the long term project of redefining Africa post colonialism?These sure are complex questions but ones which need answers and to be addressed. We need to reimagine how we view Africa’s development. We need to view Africa’s development longterm and not just in the interim.
I would criticize our leadership on the continent on so many levels ,but equally I believe we have a good story to tell. Who can forget the strides South Africa has taken to create a non sexist and non racial society post apartheid.
Who can forget the revolution that Rwanda has had post the infamous genocide. When you look at the city of Kigali for what it is today as opposed to what it was twenty years you sure ought to be impressed. To mention but a few.
In retrospect Africa’s past is ugly and heavily troublesome. The current state is confronted with uncertainty and factors which challenge ideals of justice,human rights and inclusion and the access to opportunities of empowerment. The future therefore does not look consistently bright for every single country on the continent at the same time. It will still take more time for other countries to get some things right whilst it will not take others more time.
For example the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is one which will not be solved overnight. It is a long term project. The unemployment statistics in Nigeria is one which needs to be addressed in the interim to ensure a great future for the Nigerian people. The Western Sahara conflict adds to the list of necessary work which still needs to be carried out.
The common thread and part of solution to the above is having effective servant leaders to lead and play a role in Africa’s future. Leaders who will strengthen our institutions and be held accountable for their actions as leaders.