There is a problem of questionable public leadership across many African countries. Not many of us are proud of the “leadership” in our country. While strong leadership exists in the private sector, it is still largely individualistic and not communal; that is, the benefits from such strong leadership are not felt by the wider society. Similarly, there’s a boom in the population of young people across the continent (one-fifth or 20% of the population) but this has not translated into the capacity of young persons to occupy leadership roles that actually move the needle. The largest concentration of young people on earth is in Africa, but why are we not leading the change that we want to see? Why has the majority of young people been relegated to the background of commentary and road-side agitation?
Most of the great (popular) leaders we’ve had on the continent emerged in times of crisis. It would seem that the leadership foundation on the continent is reactionary; this is why when liberation is achieved, we all went back to being normal. One of the things I want us to achieve in this conversation is to identify triggers that have the potential to activate the pursuit of leadership among young people that is proactive. I’d want to see young people develop and execute leadership in non-crisis moments.
WHO IS A LEADER?
To lead is to cause people to go in a certain direction
A leader can cause people or society to move forward or backward. So it’s important to note that a leader may seem to have good intentions but is actually leading the society backward. This is why intentions are not enough to make one a leader, it is causative in nature. Let us not confuse leadership with DICTATORSHIP. Similar to it, a leader is not a “boss”. Leadership is a chain; there are leadership positions at different levels of the society such as family, street, community, state/region, country, and others. As a result, a good leader acknowledges that where his/her leadership ends is where another begins. A leader is someone with exemplary attributes; someone to emulate or to follow.
The problem today is that Africa cannot agree on who a leader is in real life. There’s a lack of or inadequacy of leadership education. As an overview, good leadership education should posit that:
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
Here’s an example of what leadership is NOT:
A young person that wants to provide clean, potable water to a community BUT s/he has been conditioned to believe that it requires being rich to achieve that.
Leadership requires you to mobilize the people and their resources to co-fund and co-develop the water project. It requires you to create a compelling vision of why this project essential; so compelling that majority of the members of the community can share in, become passionate about, and actively participate in bringing to fruition. Example of what leadership IS:
“If you want to lead 1000 persons, lead by developing yourself very well (in mind, empathy, knowledge, and body); then do it 1000 times.”
Now, replace “person” with a farmer, student, child, families, village, town, nations, women, girl child, boy child, small business owner, orphan, widow, and on and on. That’s how we lead the change we want to see on the continent.
Attributes of good leadership
AREAS OF LEADERSHIP YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD ASPIRE TO FILL ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
TOP CHALLENGES FACING AFRICA
Challenges are natural opportunities for the emergence of great leadership. Any young person aspiring to lead should consider one or more of the following themes:
These three (3) themes can be further broken down into the following sub-theme:
Young persons in Africa make up one-fifth of her African population, why are we not moving the needle of positive change enough in our respective communities? We need a change!
Writen By Gabriel Eze – AI & ML Expert
Gabriel is an Engr. & Entrepreneur in Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, and Sustainable development facilitator for Agriculture, Health, Education, and Small Business sectors.
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