Developing Visionary and Transformational Leaderships for Faster African Progress
“Africa is beyond bemoaning the past for its problems. The task of undoing that past is on the shoulders of African leaders themselves, with the support of those willing to join in a continental renewal. We have a new generation of leaders who know that Africa must take responsibility for its own destiny, that Africa will uplift itself only by its own efforts in partnership with those who wish her well.” …….Nelson Mandela
Summary/Excerpt from Funding Proposal for “The African Leadership Capacity Development Project” (ALCD)
For additional information, please contact: editor [at] africanprogress.net
1. Mission and Objectives
…[T]he Project’s mission is to help foster more rapid progress in African countries by utilizing innovative and entrepreneurial capacity development programs – education, training, information dissemination, advocacy, and development of pan-African and global networks – that will facilitate:
the evolution of visionary, committed, selfless, uncorrupt, knowledgeable, competent, and transformational leaderships in the public, private, and civil society sectors of African countries over the next ten to twenty years;harnessing and transfer of intellectual capital, knowledge assets, and technology – especially from “overseas Africans” – for enhancement of human and institutional capacity in African countries; andthe evolution ofbetter-informed and more empowered citizenries that will constructively participate in the democratic and policy-making process, and will therefore be more likely to elect good leaders, demand accountability and transparency, and oppose and resist bad leaderships and policies.
1. Development of Future Transformational Leaders
Using the immense capabilities afforded by information and communications technologies and globalization, the Project will focus on the development of highly promising young people into a new generation of African leaders — intellectual, business, political, policy, and social entrepreneurs — in the public, private, and civil society sectors. Such young people will ultimately become well-equipped to:
- lead their countries and deal successfully with the hard realities of, and tough challenges presented by, the complex and fast-changing global geopolitical and economic environment, and
- build a strong, knowledge-based African regional economy.
Youth development in African countries is obviously a crucial issue that requires utmost attention. For instance, K. Y. Amoako, Executive Secretary of the U. N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), recently observed:1
“Regarding inclusiveness, we must also pay much more attention to the needs of the youth.
In many countries, half the population is under 25. In Ethiopia, where I live, the proportion is nearer to 60% of the population. Tragically, the youth are still marginalized, both in terms of formal participation in politics and in influencing public policy in vital areas such as on HIV/AIDS, education, and job creation. The key challenge is how to mobilize and harness young people’s energies and transform governance systems in order to grant them genuine representation. But we also need to give young people a real chance to find decent and productive work, and hope for the future.
…On average around 9 million new entrants come into Africa’s labor market each year. Many of these are young people, the majority in rural areas. Figures for 2000 show, for instance, that over half of South Africa’s youth were unemployed. Therefore, ways must be found to make agriculture an attractive employment option for our youth, to equip them educationally to be entrepreneurs, and to create an environment for micro-enterprise to flourish. If we fail, we may reap a whirlwind of disappointment, worsening poverty, and social disorder.”
The ALCD Project will execute capacity development programs that provide education, training, information, and strong support networks – with respect to the issues that are critical to African progress — to young people from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate strong leadership potential. The programs will ensure that participants develop/acquire the vision, knowledge, sophistication, resourcefulness, creativity, and access to worldwide resources, to enable them become transformational leaders. Such emerging leaders will be strongly committed to promoting democracy, good governance, freedom, liberty, rule of law, human rights, and private sector-driven development in ways that are most likely to lead to rapid poverty alleviation in their respective countries.
Because of the dearth of women leaders in the continent, the Project will (a) make special efforts to get large numbers of young women to participate in its programs, and (b) place particular emphasis on the nurturing of women leaders. Programs will also specifically highlight women’s and gender equity issues.
Furthermore, in light of the great diversity inherent in African populations, the Project will ensure appropriate balance with respect to the socioeconomic backgrounds as well as religious and ethnic diversities of program participants.
Graduates of the capacity development programs will possess the potential to ultimately become national and continental leaders who:
- are dedicated to public service, have genuine and strong commitments to national and continent-wide interests, subordinate personal, ethnic, crony, religious, regional and other group interests to the national interest, and help to develop a stronger sense of common purpose across groups
- genuinely make efforts to ensure equity and fairness, foster effective conflict prevention and resolution, and thereby help to bring about peace, unity, and stability
- will encourage generation, discussion, exchange, and dissemination of ideas and innovative approaches among leadership and intellectual networks and in the general populace, and vigorously engage in public debate and discourse on national and continent-wide development issues
- will work to create and maintain open societies, improve the international image and perception of Africa, foster regional integration, and create an attractive and competitive African business environment
- can generate popular support and build national and continent-wide consensus across various ethnic, religious, and interest groups, and forge unity behind common interests and objectives–especially with regard to support for the implementation of appropriate economic liberalization policies, which may be difficult and painful to implement, but are in their nations’ (and the continent’s) best interests
- have strong credibility, integrity, and trustworthiness and are well-respected in their countries and internationally.
Furthermore, graduates of the Project’s leadership development programs will be well-prepared in several ways that will prepare them for top leadership positions in the public, private, and civil society sectors:
- They will be well-trained young men and women who have the requisite knowledge, skills, abilities, creativity, resourcefulness, and thereby strong potential to become visionary, knowledgeable, well-informed, highly enlightened, competent, and accountable leaders.
- Such highly knowledgeable and enlightened professionals will have high levels of understanding of the policy issues that are critical to African development, their implications for African countries, and the various alternative policy approaches available to countries and leaders.
- They will be well-equipped to successfully deal with the challenges posed by a complex, knowledge-intensive global economy, practice good governance, and engage in rigorous, constructive, and positive public discourse toward the development and implementation of innovative market-based policies that will foster rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation.
- They will be independent-minded, high-level thinkers and activists who have grand ideas, passion, and commitment, and who are willing to challenge the status quo, conventional wisdom, and orthodoxies, whenever necessary.
- As the global environment changes rapidly and becomes more complex, they will have global access to requisite knowledge and information, and will know how and where to obtain information, expertise, financial and intellectual support, and other resources.
- They will be well-organized and have a strong worldwide network of support from peers, mentors, influential individuals and organizations, and intellectual and financial resources. Such established global relationships and mutually supportive networks will enable them maintain their independence and bolster their effectiveness.
- They will have the necessary knowledge and skills for:
- intellectually rigorous analysis of policy and other issues
- adaptation of their knowledge of ideas, approaches, best practices, etc., to fashion innovative strategies that are best suited for their countries’ circumstances, and
- effective communications with other leaders, media, interest groups, and the public.
- They will have (a) strong leadership and management skills and abilities that will enable them anticipate and deal with change and complexity and (b) highly entrepreneurial, sophisticated, and creative approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
- They will also be able to educate/train and disseminate information to others – younger potential leaders, interest groups, and the general populace – on relevant issues, and transfer knowledge effectively through learning networks, thereby unleashing a strong culture of ideas, innovation, and active engagement in entrepreneurial endeavors, volunteerism, community activism, teaching/mentoring, etc.
2. A Global African Professionals/Experts/Scholars/Intellectuals Network
The Project will develop a global network of African and non-African professionals/experts/scholars/intellectuals that will:
- facilitate generation, discussion, exchange, and dissemination of ideas and innovative approaches in various areas (e.g., leadership/governance, health, education, knowledge/information, entrepreneurship, finance/economics, law, ethics,
information & communications technology, politics, policy, science & technology, youth development, gender issues, the environment, etc.), thereby harnessing intellectual capital that can help to foster African development;
- help to nurture and provide intellectual support and mentoring to emerging leaders; and
- facilitate the formation of professional, business, political, and social networks and alliances that can serve to advance discourse and action on various issues that are critical to African development.
The global network will include Web-based databases of professionals/experts/scholars/intellectuals and discussion forums.
Emphasis will be placed on the most innovative ways of utilizing Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) and the Internet for development. As Dr. Yogesh Malhotra, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Knowledge Management and Business Model Innovation, has noted:
“Given the changing dynamics underlying national performance, it is not surprising that some less developed economies with significant assets in ICT knowledge and Internet-related expertise are hoping to leapfrog more developed economies.”2
The Network will thus help to address the “human capital drain” issue by harnessing the intellectual capital, professional expertise, and other resources of “overseas Africans” to foster technology and knowledge transfer for African development. As is well-known, most accomplished “overseas Africans” are deeply distressed about slow progress in their countries and Africa’s dismal image in the world, and are therefore strongly interested in using their expertise to help foster progress in the continent. They would therefore welcome and actively participate in a credible and effective vehicle for doing so.
- Public Education and Advocacy
Through public education and advocacy — dissemination of knowledge and information through the Project’s Web site, publications, and the media — the Project will help to ensure that citizenries become better-informed and more empowered to constructively participate in the democratic and policy-making process. This will involve generation, discussion, exchange, and dissemination of ideas and innovative approaches on the key issues critical to African progress.
Such approaches will include:
- organization of workshops/seminars to educate civic groups in various sectors of the society;
- dissemination of information to, and collaborations/partnerships with, civil society organizations involved in civic education activities that raise public consciousness, empower citizens, etc.;
- use of mass media (radio, television, newspapers, etc.) for public education, etc.
In effect, the public education and advocacy programs will help to bring about the evolution of better-informed and participatory citizenries that have:
- better understanding and acceptance of the supremacy of the classical liberal ideas of open societies, democracy, freedom, liberty, free markets, private enterprise, human rights, rule of law, and private sector-based approaches.
- stronger appreciation of the urgent need, and best means, for creating a more stable and predictable economic and political environment, developing a globally competitive investment environment, and positively changing Africa’s image, in order to attract the substantial foreign and domestic private investment that is necessary for market-based economic growth and poverty alleviation.
- stronger recognition of the critical need to
- elect good leaders — e.g., based on competence and vision rather than ethnic/tribal and other narrow considerations — who believe in and espouse the ideas and values outlined above, and
- demand accountability and transparency from their governments.
The Project’s activities will be phased out over a number of years and targeted at different categories of youth between 15 and 30 years of age. They will include the following:
- Creation of an interactive “African Leadership and Progress Network” Web site that will feature:
- Leadership Capacity Development Manuals (described below) and other educational/training materials
- The Project’s own original publications on relevant issues (see topics below)
- Internet-based online/distance learning facilities
- Databases/Networks/Discussion Forums on leadership/governance and other issues critical to African progress
- Forums for discussion/exchange of ideas and experiences, collaborations on projects, etc., including information and commentary on events and programs in various countries — policies, advocacy, etc. – by the Project’s participants (“Leadership Fellows”).
- African Leadership/Governance Rankings
- Profiles of emerging visionary and transformational leaders in African countries
- Links to other useful publications and Web sites
The Web site will be globally recognized as an excellent and respected resource center for ideas, education, information, and networking on leadership, governance, and other issues that are critical to African progress.
- Creation of a database and network of highly accomplished African professionals/experts/intellectuals/scholars in all disciplines relevant to African development who work/live outside Africa. The database/network will be featured on the Web site and will include online forums for high-level discussions on critical issues and trends in the respective disciplines, as discussed above. Intellectual/knowledge capital harnessed will be incorporated into the Project’s capacity development programs and also made public for use in fostering other African development initiatives.
- Preparation of comprehensive manuals to be used for leadership capacity development programs. The manuals will cover topics that are critical to development in the 21st century: leadership and governance, political and economic reform, globalization, trade, finance/investment, entrepreneurship, information/communications technologies
, legal and regulatory issues, etc. (A listing of the broad topics to be covered is provided below.)
The manuals will be comprehensive in their coverage of issues, trends, different viewpoints, alternative policy approaches, best practices, lessons learned from countries’ experiences, etc. Such manuals – which should eventually constitute the authoritative handbook for African leadership development programs — will be published on the Project’s Web site and will be available to any organization for use in leadership training and other programs designed to help foster African progress.
- Execution of leadership capacity development programs – workshops, seminars, etc. — in various countries for promising young people identified as those with the best talent and potential to become transformational leaders in the public, private, and civil society sectors (“Leadership Fellows”). The programs will be designed to ensure that Fellows acquire and develop the knowledge, skills, and other attributes described in Section III.1 above. It is expected that the capacity development programs or “fellowships” will, over time, attain the prestige and reputation of programs such as the Rhodes Scholars, the Eisenhower Fellowships, the Aspen Institute’s Crown Fellowships, etc.
Selection will be based on generally accepted and well-tested techniques for identifying exceptional young people with leadership potential. While there can never be any guarantee that the selected people will turn out to be good leaders, the objective is to increase the probability that a significant proportion will–at a much higher level than would otherwise have been the case.
The programs will cover a wide range of issues/topics in order to provide Fellows with the well-rounded and broad knowledge and sophistication that future transformational African leaders must have. Topics will be selected from the list below, as appropriate for the different groups of young people. Accomplished professionals and highly respected leaders from all relevant sectors of society (academia, politics & policy, business, civil society, government, international organizations, etc.) within and outside Africa will be featured as speakers, instructors, presenters, seminar leaders, etc.
The programs will involve junior, middle, and senior level participants from strategic sectors across government, mass media, civil society, private sector, academia, etc. Thus, there will be mentoring relationships within each sector and participants could publicize their views, engage in lobbies and mass education using the media, educational institutions, churches, cultural organizations, the judiciary, political parties, etc. to seek support for their ideas, policies, legislation, etc. Workshops will be cross-sectoral in order to enhance development of inter-sectoral relationships.
Emphasis will also be on train-the-trainer workshops, which will foster the transfer of knowledge and spread of the Project’s values and approaches, enable participants to organize and teach future seminars, reinforce their own learning, keep them engaged on the issues, and also establish them in their communities as opinion leaders.
- Establishment of “African Leadership Information Centers” in African countries, which will provide educational, technological, and other resources: libraries, computers, Internet access, educational materials, training seminars, lecture/meeting facilities, etc. The resources will be used by “Members” — promising young leaders and others whose good works are consistent with or can advance the Project’s activities and goals — to facilitate development of intellectual and leadership capacity as well as access to global resources and information on relevant issues and trends.
In exchange for free use of the Center’s facilities, Fellows and other Center Members will be required to provide assistance on the Project’s activities, in areas such as: mentoring and training teenagers, research, analysis, public education, information dissemination, community projects, and administrative duties. An “African Leadership Development Committee”, which will be set up for each location, will oversee each Center’s activities.
- An annual international “African Leadership and Progress” Conference. This will focus on leadership and governance issues relating to Africa’s development challenges, including the role of external influences in the development of African leadership. Participants will include other “African Leadership” projects, aid donors and lenders, academics, leaders from the civil society, public, and private sectors, etc. The Conference’s emphasis will be on developing practical approaches and solutions – rather than abstract/theoretical discourse — on leadership/governance and transfer of technology and intellectual capital. (For example: community leadership for the replication/adaptation of ICT and microenterprise finance
innovations for the poor and rural dwellers that are in use worldwide).
- Publication of original informational/educational articles in African and international newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. [The Project’s sponsors and advisors/consultants have already published several articles and scholarly papers on various African development issues—see CVs in Appendix A for listings.]
- Establishment of youth development programs that will focus on training very bright young people (say, 15-19 years old) in areas such as entrepreneurship, computers/IT, leadership, management, international affairs, etc. [For example: replication/adaptation of successful youth training programs such as those of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (
- Establishment of global networks and relationships with individuals and organizations that can provide intellectual and financial support to young and emerging African leaders. This will eventually grow into an extensive pan-African and global network of young/emerging leaders, who are, in turn, linked to strong support networks of individuals and organizations worldwide interested in African progress (“overseas” Africans and Africanists, civil society organizations, foundations, international organizations, etc.). Such a network will provide Fellows with various forums and opportunities – through the Internet, symposia/workshops/seminars, travel, etc. – for:
- exchange and discussion of ideas and innovative approaches, networking, and collaboration
- extensive interactions and relationships with individuals and organizations that will facilitate global sourcing of information and intellectual and financial support
- exposure to different international environments, institutions, and experiences
Over the long-term, the network will be able to assist Fellows with career development opportunities (graduate studies, training overseas, etc.) as well as political, economic, and intellectual support from powerful and influential domestic and international organizations and individuals. This will enable them to be more effective in their endeavors and insulate them from corruptive influences, intimidation, repression, etc. in their countries. Frequent mini-workshops or conferences will also be organized to facilitate constant interactions and feedback loops among mentors and Fellows, thereby ensuring the development of highly effective networks and efficient transfer of knowledge.
- International visits (to the US and other countries) for further training/capacity development programs, tours, conferences, seminars, etc. by selected Fellows. Fellows will be selected based on stringent criteria that demonstrate leadership potential. This will include performance on the individual projects they will be required to develop following the initial training session and subsequent activities (teaching/mentoring youth, entrepreneurial initiatives, engagement in public discourse, volunteerism, special national or community recognition, and other forms of activism). Thus, this would be an added incentive for Fellows to strive toward achieving the Project’s objectives.
- Public education and advocacy:
- dissemination of knowledge and information through the Project’s Web site, publications, and mass media (radio, television, newspapers, etc.);
- organization of workshops/seminars to educate civic groups in various sectors of the society;
- dissemination of information to, and collaborations/partnerships with, civil society organizations involved in civic education activities that raise public consciousness, empower citizens, etc.
Topics: Leadership Capacity Development and Education/Information Dissemination Programs
- Leadership & Governance and the Challenges of African Development
- Leadership, NEPAD, the African Union, and African Progress
- Open Societies, Democracy, Freedom, Liberty, Etc.
- Capitalism, Free Markets, and Development
- The Wealth & Poverty of Nations
- Culture, Race, Ethnicity, Etc.
- The Power of Ideas, Intellectualism, Research, Innovation & Creativity
- Public Debate & Discourse
- Civil Strife/War, Conflict Resolution, Peace, Stability
- Global Geopolitics & Security
- Law Enforcement, Security, the Military, Etc.
- The State, Markets, and Institutions
- Poverty Alleviation, Inequality, Social Justice, Etc.
- Politics and Public Policy
- Economic and Social Policies
- Education & Human Capital
- Health & Social Welfare
- Women/Gender Equity Issues
- Youth Development
- Rural/Community Development
- Agriculture & Food Security
- Public Management, Bureaucracy, Etc.
- Political & Economic Reform/Liberalization, Privatization, Etc.
- Legal Issues—Judicial Reform, Human Rights, Property Rights, Rule of Law, International Law
- Regional and Global Integration/Cooperation
- Africa, Rich Countries, and the International Organizations (WTO, World Bank/IFC, IMF, UN, etc.)
- Changing Africa’s Dismal Image
- Creating a Stable and Competitive African Investment Environment
- Globalization, Aid, Trade, Finance
- Domestic & Foreign Investment
- Infrastructure for Development: Energy, Transportation, Water, Environment, Etc.
- Financial Markets/Services/Institutions
- Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Venture Capital
- Business and Labor
- Regulatory & Supervisory Institutions & Frameworks
- Corporate Governance
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Ethics & Values
- Corruption, Transparency, Accountability
- Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, Philanthropy, etc.
- Resource Mobilization & Management
- Intellectual and Social Entrepreneurship
- Leadership and Management of Organizations
- Science & Technology for Development
- Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in Development
- Knowledge & Information Economy
- Information Sourcing & Management; Knowledge Management
- The Media, Public Education, Information Dissemination, Etc.
1. Good Governance and Development in Africa: A Critical Nexus. K. Y. Amoako, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa. 5th Andrew Young Lecture, Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, Washington, D.C., 18 February 2004.
2. Yogesh Malhotra, “Knowledge Assets in the Global Economy: Assessment of National Intellectual Capital,” Journal of Global Information Management, July-Sept, 2000 [http://www.kmnetwork.com/intellectualcapital.htm].