Leadership for the Africa we Want

Moderator:  Ms. Tumi Makgabo, Former Presenter, CNN

Welcome Remarks:  Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB Group


Rapporteur:   Prof. Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist & Vice-President, African Development Bank Group


The World Economic Forum (WEF) report for 2014 identifies two critical leadership problems globally – the first is that there is a leadership deficit, and the second is that there is a lack of trust in policies and programs pursued by leaders. Good leadership will be crucial for enabling Africa to exploit the window of opportunity that has opened up in the past decade, notably its natural resource boom. However, experience indicates that leaders that are resourceful and accountable may be more important “initial conditions” for the development and transformation of their countries than resource abundance per se. Where leadership was inadequate, the pace of industrialization and innovation stagnated, and in some cases was reversed, irrespective of the size of the resource base. In the absence of good leadership, Africa will not be able to reach its global potential. That leadership should be able to produce domestic consensus or coalitions that ensure that sufficient resources and political attention are key to the goal of economic transformation. Some prerequisite elements are a capable state; government and private-sector collaboration; a supportive environment for competitiveness; and continuous leveraging and development of the knowledge base.

Issues for Discussion:

  1. How can we nurture visionary African leadership to address any leadership deficit and engender trust in policies?
  2. Does Africa need effective institutions more than it needs strong leaders?
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