This paper is about the leadership style of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first female to serve as both finance and foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; a country located on the west coast of Africa. The paper is divided into four parts. Part I includes a Brief History of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s biographical information, such as her place of birth, parents, marriage, family, education, and employment prior to her employment with the Nigerian government. Part II highlights her achievements as minister of finance. Part III underscores her leadership style; while Part IV points the way forward for Africa, which includes conclusion/recommendations.
Brief History of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The first inhabitants of what is now Nigeria were thought to have been the Nok people (500 BC – AD 200). The Kanuri, Hausa, and Fulani peoples subsequently migrated there. Islam was introduced in the 13th century, and the empire of Kanem controlled the area from the end of the 11th century to the 14th. The Fulani Empire ruled the region from the beginning of the 19th century until the British annexed Lagos in 1851 and seized control of the rest of the region by 1886. It formally became their Colony and Protectorate in 1914. During World War I, native troops of the West African frontier force joined with French forces to defeat the German garrison in Cameroon.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa (152 million, July 2010 est.); it is one-third larger than the state of Texas. It is situated on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Its neighbors are Benin, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. The lower course of the Niger River flows south through the western part of the country into the Gulf of Guinea. Swamps and mangrove forests border the southern coast; inland are hardwood forests.
On Oct. 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence, becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and joining the United Nations. Organized as a loose federation of self-governing states, the independent nation faced the overwhelming task of unifying a country with 250 ethnic and linguistic groups. Rioting broke out in 1966, and military leaders, primarily of Ibo ethnicity, seized control. In July, a second military coup put Col. Yakubu Gowon in power, a choice unacceptable to the Ibos. Also in that year, the Muslim Hausas in the north massacred the predominantly Christian Ibos in the east, many of whom had been driven from the north. Thousands of Ibos took refuge in the eastern region, which declared its independence as the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967. Civil war broke out. In January 1970, after 31 months of civil war, Biafra surrendered to the federal government. (Nigeria: History, Geography, Government, and Culture — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107847.html#ixzz0wUcqVXcE)
Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. However, the government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria experienced its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country’s history. In January 2010, Nigeria assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2010-11 term.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is consists of 250 ethnic groups. English is the official language, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), and Fulani are some of the major languages. Age 15 and over can read and write; 68% of the population is literate (Male: 75.7%, while Female is 60.6% (2003 est.). Religion: Muslim 50%, Christian 40% and indigenous beliefs 10%. Nigeria has 36 states and 1 territory. The capital city is Abuja. Time difference: 6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time. The President (Executive branch) Goodluck Jonathan (acted from May 5, 2010 thru February 9, 2010 due to the illness of the President); he is both the chief of state and head of government. He assumed the presidency on May 5, 2010 following the death of President Yar’adua. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html)
Brief Biography of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born June 13, 1954. She is of the Igbo ethnic group from Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State where her father, Professor Chukuka Okonjo was the Obi (King), from the Umu Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu. Her parents were professors of sociology and economics. During the Biafran war, her father served as brigadier in the Biafran army. The war caused her family considerable hardship—they lost almost all of their earthly possessions.
At age 15, Ngozi Okonjo shouldered the responsibility of carrying on her back, her sister three-year-old who had become chronically ill with malaria for three miles to see a female doctor who at the time was treating people at her home. During this time, her father was at the war front and her mother was ill with stomach problem. When she got to the place, there were over six hundred people waiting to see the doctor. Undaunted, she pushed her way through the crowd, climbing through the window to where the doctor was. Later when she made reference to the incident, she said, “I knew if she didn’t get help she’d die.” The treatment her sister received for malaria saved her life. Today, that three-year-old sister is a physician and has three children of her own.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is married to her childhood sweetheart Ikemba Iweala (a surgeon). Dr. Ikemba Iweala is from Umuahia, Abia State; they have four children; one daughter and three sons. The eldest, Onyinye Iweala received her Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology from Harvard University in 2008. She went on to earn her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 2010. Her son, Uzodinma Iweala, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Beasts of No Nation (2004).
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is fluent in English, French, Ibo and working knowledge of Yoruba. She has received numerous awards, including Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of Dublin, Trinity College, 2007, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Colby College, 2007 and Brown University, 2006, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica, 2005, Time Magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award, 2004, for her work on economic reform in Nigeria, Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the year, 2005, Financial Times/The Banker as African Finance Minister of the year 2005, This Day (Nigeria’s premier newspaper) Minister of the Year award 2004 and 2005. (Nigeria: History, Geography, Government, and Culture — Infoplease.comhttp://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107847.html#ixzz0wUcqVXcE)
After the Biafran war ended in January 1970, Ngozi Okonjo then 18 years of age, travelled to the United States to study economics at Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in 1977. She later earned her Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Prior to becoming finance minister of Nigeria, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had a 21-year career as a development economist at the World Bank. The positions she held at the World Bank were Vice President and Corporate Secretary. This included two tours of duty (six years) working in the East Asia Region, the last tour (1997-2000) as Country Director for Malaysia, Mongolia, Laos and Cambodia (during the East Asian financial crisis); two duty tours in the Middle East Region, the last (2000-2003) as Director, Operations (deputy vice-president) of the region.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also served as Director of Institutional Change and Strategy (1995-1997). In this post she assisted with the implementation of the Bank’s reform agenda. From 1989 to 1991, she was Special assistant to the Senior Vice President, Operations, an assignment that enabled her to participate in high level policy formulation and discussions for countries as diverse as China and Burkina Faso. (http://www.wri.org/about/board/ngozi-okonjo-iweala)
Finance Minister of Nigeria
When Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in 2000 in Nigeria’s first democratic election, following the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, the president asked Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to write a brief for Nigeria’s economic reform, and when she completed the task and presented it to him, he was so impressed with her work, he asked her to join his cabinet as finance minister. She served in this position from July 15, 2003 – June 2006. On June 2006, she was appointed foreign minister. On August 3, 2006, she resigned the position following her sudden removal as head of Nigeria’s Economic Intelligence team by President Obasanjo.
After she resigned as foreign minister in August 3, 2006, she was considered as a possible replacement for the former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. However, on October 4, 2007, the new World Bank President Robert Zoellick appointed her as Managing Director of the World Bank, effective December 1, 2007.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s achievements as the first female Finance Minister of Nigeria garnered international recognition for improving Nigeria’s financial stability and fostering greater fiscal transparency to combat corruption. In October 2005, she led the Nigerian team that negotiated the cancellation of US $18 billion or 60 percent of Nigeria’s external debt with the Paris Club. The debt deal also included an innovative buy-back mechanism that wiped out Nigeria’s Paris club debt and reduced the country’s external indebtedness from US$35 to US$5 billion. Prior to the partial debt payment and write-off, Nigeria spent roughly U.S. $1 billion every year on debt servicing, without making a dent in the principal owed. Her team was responsible for Nigeria’s first ever Sovereign credit rating of BB – from Fitch and Standard and Poor’s — a rating that grouped Nigeria with other emerging market countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, Venezuela, and Philippines.
Economic Reform: Stop “Monkey they work, baboon they chop”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala came to her position as finance minister with the zeal and determination to eradicate the practice that was commonly referred to in Nigeria and the entire West Africa as, “Monkey they work, baboon they chop;” which is interpreted as, the people work while their leaders eat. Despite Nigeria’s rich oil wealth, her 152 million people are impoverished. In 2003, the country exported $20 billion worth of oil, but its people live on an average wage of a dollar a day.
Reforming a country’s economic system that the Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International ranked as the second most corrupt place in the world, next to Bangladesh was a daunting task for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. Nigeria is a country where the oil money had been wasted in kickbacks and bribes. The country’s economy had struggled with years of mismanagement. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala trimmed her country’s bloated civil service, cut fuel subsidies and begun accounting for all the money the government spends. She also helped set up an antifraud team to crack down on “419” letter, an Internet advance-fee scams, which bilk everyone from unsuspecting pensioners to large banks by convincing them to part with their money on the promise of a cut of hidden “millions.” Her team caught more than 500 people as the result of the program she put in place to address these problems.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala believes improving Nigeria’s image is as important as fixing its economy. To which she says, “It is a sense of anger that drives me. Anger that this country [and] the Nigerians that I know are being maligned by a small percentage.” She added, “You have to do something to clean this up. You can’t always look up to other people do to it. The fight begins with you.” (http://www.time.com/time/europe/hero2004/iweala.html)
During her tenure as finance minister, the Nigerian government recovered stolen assets as well as jailed hundreds of people engaged in the international Internet 419 scams. Due to her stubbornness and determination to fight and transform her country’s infamously chaotic finances and rein in its notorious corruption, she was hailed by world leaders and reviled by her fellow countrymen. She became known as “Okonjo-Wahala – or Trouble Woman.” To which she says, “It means ‘I give you hell.’ But I don’t care what names they call me. I’m a fighter; I’m very focused on what I’m doing, and relentless in what I want to achieve, almost to a fault. If you get in my way you get kicked.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s goal was to ensure that more of Nigeria’s its oil money (£25bn last year), rather than being squandered by a tiny elite, goes towards providing clean water, schools and health care for its 152 million population, most of whom survive on 60p a day. Transforming the huge oil-rich nation, which is home to one in five Africans and the size of Europe was an arduous and often bloody task for her. But two years into her appointment, she made tremendous progress that even some of her critics praised her for.
Even though she was unpopular with many powerful Nigerians, she got the work done, leaving many casualties in her wake. She sacked corrupt officials and ministers; reduced Nigeria’s bloated civil service; and cracked down on letter and internet scams that persuade the unsuspecting to part with their savings on the pretext of releasing “millions”. She has even managed to cut back “bunkering”, the Nigerian practice whereby government officials and the army steal crude oil.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was once named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s heroes; and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed her as “a brilliant reformer”. To her image is as important as its economy. “Nigeria is changing,” she insists. “I take it too personally when people say bad things about this country (Nigeria). But Nigeria is coming into its own, and becoming a leader in the continent.”
Business: The Cultural of Mismanagement and Corruption
During her tenure, she worked to combat corruption, made Nigeria’s finances more transparent, and instituted reforms to make the nation’s economy more hospitable to foreign investment. The government unlinked its budget from the price of oil, its main export, to lessen perennial cashflow crises, and got oil companies to publish how much they pay the government.
Leadership Style: Transformative and Visionary
Transformative leaders have the greatest impact on the led. They must motivate followers to action by appealing to shared values and by satisfying the higher order needs of the led, such as their aspirations and expectations. Transformative leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both leader and the led, and thus it has a transforming effect on both. (http://leadership.au.af.mil/documents/homrig.htm)
Transformative Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader buys into it, and gets hook on the vision. And working for a Transformative leader can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. Because they put passion and energy into everything they do. Moreover, they care about those they work with and want them to succeed. (http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/transformational_leadership.htm)
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is such a person. She possesses all of the qualities of a transformative leader. In addition, she exhibits the attributes of a visionary leader with the charisma, innovation, passion, intellectual drive and knowledge to create the motivation that made people to work with her. As a visionary leader, she was able to lead her team to do what many thought was impossible — to successfully negotiate the deal with the Paris Club in order for her government to pay a portion of country’s external debt (US $12 billion) in return for $18 billion debt write-off. As her country’s finance minister, she provided clarity of vision to her followers, and it was her style of leadership that defined the new culture under which the finance ministry operated.
Her Other Leadership Qualities
Innovation: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala personifies both innovative and transformative leadership styles. An innovative leader is one with the ability to get followers deeply committed to fulfilling a version, objective, or course of action that they believe is achievable and worthwhile. As an innovative leader, though, is an exceptional and rare one; a person who promotes and focuses maximum effective creativity from followers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs in the organization. These ‘galvanizers’ get people to attack things they’ve only longed for and dreamt of previously.
While a transformative leader is one who has a version, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The important factor is the leader buys into it. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala once said, “I also think women have less ego. If someone’s saying things to make me feel bad, I don’t care as long as I get the job done. When it comes to doing my job I keep my ego in my handbag.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/aug/01/gender.uk) She believes that as a leader, innovation has no limit and the only limit is when you allow other to set your agenda for you.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala possesses Intellectual drive and Knowledge: As a leader of an organization, you must have a clearly defined set of goals and objectives, and the strategy to go along in achieving them. She feels change must begin at home. “We’ve got to get real; not just talk,” she says. “Africans have to start looking after themselves and working and trading with each other.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/aug/01/gender.uk) I can’t see someone leading in a field they know nothing about. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala came to the position with the credentials, skills and knowledge to rescue her country from its economic disaster.
Passion: Passion is the critical partner to purpose and performance. It is necessary to achieve the present and the future dreams or results that we desire for our businesses, our families, our friends, our communities and ourselves. To live without passion suggests that our life is void of emotion, an empty vessel or person just existing, moving from one meaningless action to another and never achieving the next great step. Passion is one of her main strengths.
Charisma: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is considered a charismatic leader. Charismatic leadership is based on the leader’s ability to communicate and behave in ways that appeal to their followers’ emotion as to inspire and motivate them. We often speak of some sports and political leaders as charismatic. A current example of this leadership is – President Obama.
While it is sometime difficult to identify the characteristics that make a leader “charismatic”, but they certainly include the ability to communicate on a very powerful emotional level, and probably include some personality traits. Developing “charisma” is difficult, if not impossible for many people, but luckily charismatic leadership is not essential to be an effective leader. Many other characteristics are involved in leading effectively, and there is significant evidence to indicate that it simply is not necessary to have this elusive charisma to lead others well.
Relying on charisma to lead also can be problematic. For example, there have been many charismatic leaders who lack other leadership characteristics and skills (e.g. integrity) and lead their followers into situations that turn out horribly — think political leaders such as Stalin, Hitler, and even business leaders Enron. (http://work911.com/leadership-development/faq/charisma.htm)
Finally, in organizations led by a charismatic leader, there is a major problem regarding succession when the charismatic leader exits the stage. In most cases, the organization either fails or goes through difficult times finding replacement. When that happens it takes a long time for the organization to bounce back.
Conclusion/Recommendations and the Way Forward
Political corruption affects us all. We elect politicians and political parties expecting them to act in the public interest. By electing them we give them access to public resources and the power to take decisions that affect our lives. Given this privileged position, the damage that can be inflicted by politicians or parties acting out of greed, or in the service of those who bankrolled their ascent to power, is immense. It is not surprising then that people the world over are demanding absolute probity of their political leaders. These corrupt practices lead citizens to take things into their own hands.
This reminds me of a story my mother, Sarkpah Mardea Worhwinn told me regarding the practice of corruption in Monrovia, Liberia. This is about “Why Did John Johns Refused Promotion?”
As a youth growing up in Monrovia in the 60’s, I honestly thought corruption was a legal practice. Why? For the most part, individuals who embezzled (or eat government money) funds were transferred to other positions or promoted, instead of being punished for the crimes they committed. These individuals were transferred or promoted as if they had made meaningful contributions to national developments. This corrupt practice in Africa, reminds me of John Johns, “the man who refused to be promoted”. The name John Johns is a fictional character, but the story is true.
John Johns was a messenger (an expediter) in the Bureau of Custom at the Ministry of Finance. John Johns was troubled when he heard that his boss was considering him for a promotion. So he decided to prevent his boss from promoting him by offering him bribe.
Based on the Bureau’s records, John Johns was the most dedicated employee in the history of the Bureau. He was the only employee who worked seven days a week – the first to report to work, and the last to leave. It was due to his dedication and commitment for which he was being considered for the promotion. The promotion came with the incentive of salary increment (from $50.00 to $75.00 per month).
However, the environment in which John Johns works had a culture of taking “cold water” (bribe) for performing public service. In other words, it was the usual practice, and it was encouraged. Anyone who refuses to participate was considered stupid or naive. This was the atmosphere in which Messenger John Johns works. John Johns’ monthly starting salary was $25.00. When John Johns was first employed, he had a wife and two children. Within five years, he had five increments, which brought his salary to $50.00 per month. With this salary, he supported four children, his wife and two other children by each of his two girlfriends. With this meager salary, John Johns managed to build 4 concrete houses in less than a year.
Upon hearing the news around the office that he was slated for promotion, John Johns grew weary and troublesome. As a result, he immediately called on the close friends and associates of his boss in order to have them talk to their friend (his boss) on his behalf – to change his mind regarding his promotion. He got these friends to understand his position for refusing the promotion. One of them even said, “If a person doesn’t want to be promoted, you can’t force him.” Based on this rationale, the friends offered to help John Johns by approaching their friend (John Johns’ boss) on his behalf. For their assistance, John Johns promised to have them rewarded handsomely. Therefore, they decided to meet at the home of their friend, whose name is Johnson. John Johns went ahead to make arrangement with Mr. Johnson’s wife by providing her with money for the entertainment at the meeting. He gave her enough cash to stage the event in grand style. In order for her husband not to leave home on that day, Mrs. Johnson made sure to tell him that, on Saturday few of his friends were coming over to visit, therefore, he needs to be at home to receive them, he agreed.
At the appointed time, 7:30 PM in the evening, they showed up. Mr. Johnson was glad to see his friends and associates. Mrs. Johnson served the guests expensive drinks and food. By then, Mr. Johnson began to wonder about the purpose for such an elaborate occasion. He was somewhat concern as to how his wife obtained the resources to provide for such high-class entertainment.
Looking at the reflection on Mr. Johnson’s face, John Johns got up immediately, took the center stage, and said, “Mrs. Johnson, Madam, I thank you for assisting me in arranging this meeting”; to the friends and associates of his boss, he added, “Gentlemen, I thank all of you too, for responding to my request in a timely manner; however, before I begin to tell you the purpose for which we have gathered here, let me first thank God the Almighty for forgiving all of the bad, bad things I have done in my lifetime.”
John Johns then focused his attention on his boss. He said to him, “Chief, this palaver was called because I heard that you were thinking about promoting me. Is there any truth to what they have been saying around the office?” The boss responded in the affirmative. “It is certainly true”, said his boss. John Johns then proceeded by saying, “Chief, the reason I brought you this ‘cold water’ and ‘goat soup’ (bribe) along with your close friends and associates, is to beg you not to promote me. Chief, in the name of the Almighty God, please reconsider your decision. And if it means for me to give you half of my salary for your personal use, I would rather do so than to be promoted. Chief, I beg you; I love my present position, very much! I do not want any increment nor to be promoted to any other position. My present position is meant for me!”
As soon as John Johns got through speaking, Mr. Johnson thanked him for his concern and generosity, and said to him, “If that’s what you want, I have no other choice but to adhere to your wishes.” He accepted the “goat soup”, “cold water” and part of John Johns’ salary without questioning him about his motives. After reaching this agreement, Mr. Johnson and his guests had a good time celebrating John Johns’ request – not to be promoted.
The practice of corruption in Africa seems to be the order of the day. Most people have gotten accustomed to it. To them, corruption is a way of life; their common excuse is, “since corruption cannot be eliminated, so why hurt your head over it”. The common advice they usually offer is, “when the opportunity presents itself for you, take your share of the Elephant meat. Don’t complain when others are doing it; wait on your turn.” To these people, government job is like a big Elephant meat; it is plenty. It belongs to anyone who can cut a bigger piece of it for themselves; because “if you steal from yourself (government) it is no sin or a crime at all, because you are taking what rightly belongs to you”.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala wanted no part of such a corrupt culture. As the say about her, “She relishes a good fight.” In fact, she came to her position with one goal, which was to sort out her country’s infamous chaotic finances – for which she earned the distinct title, “Nigeria’s Economic Reformer.”
Today, the Oil-rich Nigeria that once hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macroeconomic management, has undertaken several reforms over the past decade, which its former military rulers failed to diversify away from its overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings and about 80% of budgetary revenues. But Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s reform programs have worked wonders.
For example, following the signing of an IMF stand-by agreement in August 2000, Nigeria received a debt-restructuring deal from the Paris Club and a $1 billion credit from the IMF, contingent on economic reforms. Nigeria pulled out of the IMF program in April 2002, after failing to meet spending and exchange rate targets, making it ineligible for additional debt forgiveness from the Paris Club. But since 2008, the government has begun showing the political will to implement the market-oriented reforms urged by the IMF, such as to modernize the banking system, to curb inflation by blocking excessive wage demands, and to resolve regional disputes over the distribution of earnings from the oil industry.
In 2003, the government began deregulating fuel prices, announced the privatization of the country’s four oil refineries, and instituted the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, a domestically designed and run program modeled on the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for fiscal and monetary management. And in November 2005, Abuja won Paris Club approval for a debt-relief deal that eliminated $18 billion of debt in exchange for $12 billion in payments – a total package worth $30 billion of Nigeria’s total $37 billion external debt. The deal subjects Nigeria to stringent IMF reviews. Based largely on increased oil exports and high global crude prices, GDP rose strongly in 2007-09. The late President, Yar’adua pledged to continue the economic reforms of his predecessor with emphasis on infrastructure improvements. Infrastructure is the main impediment to growth. The government is working toward developing stronger public-private partnerships for electricity and roads.
Africa: A Way Forward
Africa faces many challenges today, and the role towards development is very rocky and steep but the first step is to believe in ourselves; be honest in managing our resources and funds; stop corruptions. Form genuine partnership with other countries that are in the relationship to rip us off. Africa needs economic restructuring and reform that will put in place the right set of policies to give the correct signals to all actors in the economy and to encourage our people to produce and invest to restore growth, and not aid in its present form.
One of the most important issues for Africans today is jobs. According to the 2005 Africa Population Demographics: 41.4% of Africa’s population is below the age of 14; 20.5% of population aged between 15-24 makes…; 61.9% of population below the age of 24.” What does this mean? It means African leaders will have to focus on how the youth of Africa are going to be engaged in productive endeavors in their lives. Jobs creation will have to take center stage so as not to have us fail.
In addition to job creation are providing the followings: Safe Drinking Water, Electricity, Roads, good Education, Agriculture, Healthcare, eliminate Corruption, Violence, and infrastructural development. These are some of the things that Africa needs right now. Africa has taking care of others (Europe and America with not only with human resources, but with its natural resources as well); it now needs to take care of itself. The African people need to take charge of their own lives. We do not want handouts but rather genuine partnership to move our continent forward, to do otherwise should not be accepted.
NOTE: This article was first written in August 18, 2010 as a Graduate School class assignment on ‘Leadership and Ethics’. At this time, I consider it wise to share her achievements for other African leaders to learn from and emulate.
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“Leadership Style of A Private & Public Figure” by Siahyonkron Nyanseor –
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About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr. is former Secretary, Vice & Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. and a Founding member and the 11th National President of ULAA (1986-1988). He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist; an ordained Minister of the Gospel, and Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine. He has a graduate degree (MBA) in Management. He retired in 2009 after 35 years as a Mental Health Professional with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his current book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is on the market. He be reached at: [email protected]