Fred Swaniker: Africa’s Next Leaders
Africa’s past is embroiled in corruption, destruction and failure among its leaders. The careless misinformation and broken promises imparted by governments has led to the collapse of many communities, who are tired of the disappointment, lack of political choice and unequal distribution of wealth.
But the people of Africa have always shown outstanding resilience in the face of adversity, and today is no different. A new generation of young leaders has brought hope to the African populations, who dream that these young people will be able to make real tangible changes to political institutions, and make more informed, tailored decisions based on true local knowledge. These decisions, after all, affect the economic, environmental and social aspects of millions of Africans’ lives.
Fred Swaniker, a serial entrepreneur and leadership development expert from Ghana, has released a speech that resonates with the core of Giving Africa’s mission: to eradicate poverty through the power of learning.
In a compelling speech on the future of Africa’s fourth generation of leaders, Swaniker recalls the emotion he felt as a youth, seeing Nelson Mandela on TV. Mandela had refused to allow the struggle to defeat his objective, and chose to sacrifice his liberty for the sake of the ultimate goal: to free South Africa of the shackles of apartheid.
“I remember feeling how one good leader can make such a big difference in Africa “
Swaniker asserts that great leadership must be complemented by a model for economic development.
“… when societies have strong institutions, the difference leaders can make is limited. Though with weaker institutions the difference is of course make or break”
Whilst swaths of African judicial courts are still considered weak institutions, enormous improvements have been made by the previous ‘Third Generation’, also known as the ‘Stabiliser Generation’ featuring Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah. Both of these individuals were visionaries; dedicated to learning as a basis for a real positive impact on social and economic stability.
So what is the outlook for Generation Four?
Swaniker believes that this is the generation to eradicate poverty and inject communities with real prosperity. All of this is linked to the concept of entrepreneurialism; if we equip young people with the tools to pull themselves out of poverty, the effect will ripple through surrounding individuals and families.
Swaniker uses one case study to exemplify his point. Latisha, 13 years old, dropped out of her Kenyan school due to fees. Instead, she started rearing rabbits, a delicacy in her home town.
Her venture became a business when she realised there was demand. Before long she was employing 15 women, and providing school funding for herself and 65 other children. Today, she funds 400 students going to school every day.
And all of this, before Latisha had even turned 18.
This is a truly inspirational story that deserves commendation from everyone in the world who believes in an indiscriminately accessible education system. For a young person to show such innovation, passion and bravery incites Giving Africa to continue the fight to eradicate poverty. Latisha is one of countless examples that the next generation of Africa has the potential to make some beautiful changes.
Swaniker announced during the speech that 25 new universities are being built to educate 250,000 new potential leaders at any given time. This means that over the next 50 years, 3 million young people with the potential to lead their nation will be ready to take on the challenge: to build robust institutions, filled with honest and pragmatic leaders who are committed to seeing Africa as the prosperous continent it deserves to be.