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Leadership recruitment process, Africa’s most critical deficit — Obi

...says accountable and responsible leadership needed

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi has said that the leadership recruitment process is the biggest challenge facing Africa and limits the harnessing of opportunities in the continent.

He said this while speaking at the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit in United Kingdom on Monday.

The LP standard bearer said that Africa’s most important deficit remains a deficit of leadership.

“The effective and sustainable harnessing of the opportunities in Africa through an agenda/framework rooted in the African Consensus will require the enthronement of accountable and responsible leadership across Africa. This will be the most effective way through which our internal coherence and external connectedness can be properly harnessed for the sustainable and inclusive growth and development of Africa”, Obi said.

He listed what he called a few low-hanging fruits that the African consensus should pursue in collaboration with the Commonwealth. i. creation of a special fund for the development of infrastructure and African SMEs, ii. Special incentives to promote the export of products and services from Africa to other Commonwealth countries and the world. iii. Intentional but aggressive knowledge and skill development exchange between Africa and the Commonwealth. iv. Crafting of an African Development Agenda/Framework that is African-oriented and globally very attractive.

Obi noted that even with the immense potential and opportunities in Africa, many challenges remain and they are related to widespread leadership failures, limited access to funding, inadequate infrastructure, rural-urban migration, limited women and youth empowerment and regulatory barriers are pervasive.

“Africa is home to many people living in extreme poverty, and there are significant deprivations and disparities in income. While these challenges question the sustainability of the progress being made, there is a growing belief that Africa can be on the cusp of a major transformation with the opportunities that abound if the right reforms are pursued” Obi remarked.

According to Obi, “there is no doubt as to the immense opportunities across Africa, the challenge is on the best framework to harness the opportunities for sustainable and inclusive growth and development of Africa even as he recognized Africa’s potentials in emerging technologies, Entertainment, and Agriculture.

“Since we live in a global economy, harnessing African opportunities will require partnerships of different forms that can be broadly categorized into internal and external partnerships. While the internal partnerships include robust public-private and public-public collaborations within and outside African countries, the external partnerships cover collaborations such as Africa and the Commonwealth, Africa and Europe, Africa and the United States of America, Africa, and China, Africa and the rest of the world.”

Obi stated that despite the challenge of leadership Africa remains a continent of incredible richness, not just in terms of its natural resources but also its human capital. As the second largest and second-most-populous continent of the world with a population of over 1.4 billion people, Africa is home to a youthful and dynamic workforce with the largest concentration of working-age population of about 1.1 billion people. This demographic advantage, with an abundance of natural resources ranging from minerals to over 874 million hectares of arable land for agricultural revolution, positions Africa as a key player in the global economy.

He said the continent’s economic potential cannot be overstated noting that some of the countries are already experiencing rapid economic growth, with several African economies consistently outperforming global economic growth averages.

“Of the top twenty countries with the highest growth projections for 2024, twelve are in Africa. The rise in population and an expanding middle class with about 53% of income earners falling within the age group of 16 to 34 years presents a vast consumer market, creating opportunities for investment and trade. While every socio-economic sector in Africa presents immense potential and opportunities, let me use just four sectors- technology, entertainment, natural resources, and agriculture to further illustrate the emerging opportunities”

Obi insisted that Africa’s current development crisis is not really that of resources or opportunities.

“We know the opportunities and where they exist. While some African leaders are commendably developing and growing their respective economies, what is required is the enthronement of responsible and purposeful leaders across all African states to create the required support and ownership for the robust formulation and implementation of the African Consensus Development Agenda.

He finally charged the Commonwealth with its long years of experience in political leadership in Africa to partner to support Africa to instill accountable and responsible political leadership which has remained the most critical requirement for the harnessing of the immense opportunities in Africa for the benefit of Africa, the Commonwealth, and the global economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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