Challenges facing African Leadership
Posted Thu, 21 Oct 2004
By Reuel J KhozaChairman of: Eskom Holdings Limited, Aka Capital (Pty) Limited, Corobrik (Pty) Limited, and the NEPAD Business Group (South Africa) WHERE ARE WE? According to the World Bank publication, “African Development Indicators 2004”, "Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where the number of people living in extreme poverty has almost doubled, from 164 million in 1981 to 314 million today (in 2002). Thirty-two of its forty-seven countries are among the world's forty-eight poorest nations. With 11 percent of the world's population, Africa accounts for only about 1 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). The GDP per African has fallen by 13 percent, compared to 1981, and the continent remains on the margins of globalization, with a share of world exports that dropped from more than 3.5 percent in 1970 to about 1.4 percent at the end of 2002." "Economic growth for the region slowed to 2.8 percent in 2002, slightly down from 2.9 percent the previous year. Net foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region rose to $8.9 billion in 2002 but is still a meagre 0.6 percent of the world's total foreign direct investment. Net aid to Africa rose by approximately 35 percent in 2002 compared to 2001. But on a per capita basis, net aid was only $27 in 2002, far below its 1992 mark of $40" CHALLENGES 1. Playing in a Globalising world where the playing field is not level. The so-called developed world owns the stadium, the lights, the ball, the whistle, the better equipped team and sets the rules of the game. In order for Africa to gain ownership and influence over these factors, fundamental changes are called for. This is the duty of Leaders. 2. For far too long Africa has looked up to those who made it their core business to engineer our destitution, inculcate a sense of nobodiness and dependence, and define our destiny; and make Africa forever beholden to them for skewed trade, grants and assistance with strings attached. In order for Africa to prosper these must change fundamentally. Through NEPAD Africa has set its agenda. Business must play its economic development role. 3. African leaders should go beyond the analysis and interpretation of the African condition in the global context. (For centuries, our rich and fertile continent has been systematically plundered. The colonial powers grew rich on the resources they took from Africa, all the while ensuring that we, the people of Africa, were disempowered in the most brutal fashion, and unable to pose a threat to their economic dominance.) The challenge is to move on to change the African condition. This calls for a practical programme of action with time lines and dead lines: short term, medium term, long term and generational. If we accept that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is in one real sense, Africa’s economic and business prospectus, we must develop the discipline and the leadership determination to plan and implement. It would encourage Africa if we as transformational leaders could deliver a series of quick hits; the following to wit: 3.1 In Nigeria: develop a state of the art oil refinery essentially run and managed by Africans from research, design and development through engineering to marketing the final products. Channeling the gas, that is wastefully flared up into powering the electrification of West Africa. 3.2 In Angola: insisting on a partnership with the international oil companies to build an oil refinery, also largely resourced by Angolans to supply Sub Saharan Africa further down south. 3.3 In DRC: develop the Inga project to its fourth phase which is Grand Inga to supply hydro electric energy throughout the African continent. Develop this phenomenally fertile country into Africa’s bread basket with surplus food to export. 4. In Southern Africa as a whole, develop a sense of urgency to implement the nascent Western Power Corridor interlinking the five utilities: · ENE; Angola · SNEL; DRC · NAMPOWER, Namibia · BPC; Botswana · ESKOM; South Africa Developing a similar corridor in the east coast and replicating this in the other regions : ECOWAS, ECAS, Maghreb. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: KEY ELEMENTS FOR AFRICA’S CURRENT CHALLENGES 1. A sense of history with its attendant lessons 2. A sense of destiny determined and defined by Africans With regards to these aspects, may I remind you what an African in the diaspora, Frederick Douglas had to say in the nineteenth century. : “Our destiny is largely in our hands. If we find, we shall have to seek. If we succeed in the race of life, it must be by our own energies and our own exertions. Others may clear the road, but we must go forward, or be left behind in the race of life. If we remain poor and dependent, the riches of other men will not avail us. If we are ignorant, the intelligence of other men will do but little for us. If we are wasteful of time and money, the economy of other men will only make our destitution the more disgraceful and hurtful”. 3. A capacity to analyse and interpret global trends and their bearing on Africa, with a view to taking a stance beneficial to Africa. 4. Incisiveness to decipher the essence from the plethora of information on the continent, informed by a bias for action. 5. Pervasive sense of efficacy coupled with the unwavering belief that the locus of control for Africa’s socio-economic development is within Africa. 6. Insistence on determining rules of the game for Africa’s socio-economic development
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