Many people believe that, leadership is the major problem of Africa.When President Barack Obama visited Ghana in 2009,he said “Africa doesn’t need strong men, Africa needs strong institutions”
I have strong conviction that, this ignited Mr Obama’s passion to invest in young Africans which birthed the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) ,a network which has developed the capacity of many young Africans.
I am a strong believer of the assertion that, Africa’s future does not lie in the gold, diamond, bauxite, oil or cocoa, our true wealth lies in the development of the minds of young people.
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From the spade of a decade, this has resulted to the development of leadership programmes with the aim to nurturing responsible citizens who will transform the African continent.The youth have been targeted to transform this generation so that Africa, a continent blessed with enormous human capital will become the hub of hope,opportunities and possibilities.
A lot of funds have been invested by donors , Philantropist and international bodies towards the development of young minds.It is my hope this generation doesn’t disappoint.
It has been estimated that, by 2027,the population of Africa will reach 3billion. Unemployment rate is very high in Africa resulting in a lot of social vices with increase in crime rate.
These days, every young person calls themselves leaders. Yes! We are leaders of today. But, are we solving the problems that really affect us.
We should remember that, You can’t call yourself a change maker if you don’t live a changed life. We must walk the talk.
Some people are of the view that, the slow pace in development of Africa is because it’s run by old men. But my question is that, how old was Robert Mugabe, Paul Biya, Yayha Jammeh and the likes when they became presidents?
I believe that, the ultimate goal of leadership is to solve problems.Are we really solving these problems? I think we have not paid attention to the major problem of Africa.
After searching for 6 months, I have found out that, the biggest problem affecting Africa is not corruption but our mindset and attitude.
With the right mindset and attitude,corruption can be eradicated.
We always want the rules to remain same
and whenever there’s changes, instead of adapting to it with new strategies, we turn to complains. By the time we are ready, the rest of the world would have already moved.
Until we understand that, the rule will not always remain same, and change our mindset on certain things, our progress would be on the tortoise pace.
As Africans, we should accept the reality that, the game will change,if not, disappointment would always abound. Our strict adherence to some outmoded cultural practices have been a bane to development.
Sometimes, when you delve into the attitude and mindset behind the adherence to some of these practices you will wonder how some people stick to a myth which lacks evidence and credibility.
In some African countries, people are so adamant to change that, we equate new ways of doing things as being “western” and when somebody embraces global change and starts thinking outside the box,they tag them as being Obroni “white person “
We are always comfortable with the little we have. Instead of us to explore into new areas, we stick to what has been in use for centuries.Are the old methodologies and practices yielding results?
In sub Saharan Africa, the sun is a very great asset. Energy shouldn’t have been our challenge but unfortunately, we have not embraced the idea of renewable energy.
In other continents, renewable energy is being used extensively but many African countries are still relying on non-renewable means.
The attitude and mindset of some African leaders make it so difficult to adapt to global change.
The colonial education we inherited are still in use whiles those who colonized us have moved from that was long time ago.
Our education trains us to work for others instead of working for ourselves. It teaches us what transpired in the book “rich dad, poor dad”
The poor dad ideology has been the result of our bookish nature of education.
The internet is currently richer than gold mines. 4 out of the world’s top 6 richest people are working in the technology space. The era of industrialization is no longer fetching money like previously . The internet and technology is the next big thing. But is Africa leaders thinking in that vein?
We believe in the sentence “this is how it has been done since time memorial”
But we have failed to understand that, what worked for the Nkrumah’s, Sankara’s and Madiba’s cannot work in this generation.
Being traditional or African doesn’t mean we should be very rigid and adamant to change.It is time for us to move forward. Yes we can!
We are in an era of change and the world will continue to see great innovations.In this technologised era ,almost every part of the world have come to terms with technology and entrepreneurship.
The 20th and 21st century saw many innovations and inventions. The Americans,Europeans and Asians went to space for the first time in history. As Africans ,we are yet to land there. It is not because we are not capable but because we have limited our mindset to certain things which doesn’t embrace change.
There is no university in the world that an African has not been.Yet,we are lagging behind in terms of development.
Instead of waiting for the change to occur, we should be prepared in advance so that,the change will not take us for a ride. Many people don’t plan ahead so when change occurs we they themselves wanting.
At some point in the 17th century, Africa was better than Asia in terms of resources and wealth but now, many African countries are depending on the Chinese for our livelihood. The secret of the Chinese is that, they foresee the change long time ago and prepared adequately towards it. How can a country with more than 1.5 billion, close to the whole population of Africa feeds themselves, leave reserves and still feed Africa? This is absolutely lugubrious.
Our problem as a continent is our inability to quickly adapt to change,act quickly, think outside the box, study situations quickly and respond to changes to find new opportunities.
For Africa to move forward, our attitudes and mindset should change.
I believe in Africa. Let’s be the change. It starts from us.
About the Author
Kenneth Gyamerah is a Ghanaian Writer, Teacher and the Country Ambassador to CELBMD-Africa. He is a YALI West Africa and Royal Commonwealth Society Fellow. He is a member of the International Society of African Youth Activists.