Unlocking Africa’s Potential Through Unlocking Youth Leadership Opportunities

African Youth Leadership

A lack of strong and sound leadership has made it difficult for many young people in Africa to develop effectively in political structures that should empower them. Many organizations in Africa especially public government entities are challenged by an absence of resolute young leadership as they struggles in precarious times. In Malawi according to the World Bank Enterprise Survey 2014 report, the public services sector carries a very high risk of corruption. More than a quarter of companies expect to give gifts to obtain water or electrical connections, while less than two in ten companies expect to give gifts to obtain an operating license.

Every leadership approach and practice that is adopted by any organization or young leader has two effects; either it will bring positive or negative change. The way leadership is applied and mastered in Africa has been forced to change by the economic, social and political environment we are operating under.

To become a seasoned young leader with influence which carries real weight requires humility as a central pillar of how a leader can be accepted. The level at which some leaders are acknowledged and respected is determined by their level of humility. Power and authority should not make leaders lose humility but it’s an aid to raise confidence.  

Being a true leader means that the ability to plant a seed of leadership amongst followers so that even when you are not physically present work will continue as normal. Leadership is an act of showing the boundaries of power and authority between a leader and a follower; it should not be abused as a way of intimidating people, a mismatch that we see all to frequently.

In the twenty-first century there appears to be almost an experiment in global self- destruction with lack of leadership, leading to policies that actively accommodate young people. It is now more than ever that we need strong young leaders who have the courage to grapple with the perplexing issues and seemingly overwhelming problems we face, as well as the ability to discover and implement workable solutions. More than anything else, what we require today are young competent, effective, visionary leaders in all walks of life.

The modern mature leaders who have emerged seem to believe that the primary qualities needed to address high level of corruption, in demanding times are the following: great vision; academic and intellectual superiority; dynamic oratory and other communications skills that have the power to persuade; management expertise; and the ability to control others, whilst these remain important in varying degrees, In the case of Africa history has shown that the most important quality a true leader should and must possess is the moral force of a noble and stable character

We have all these skilled young people in positions of power, with an ample supply of potential leaders. Yet some young leaders who are trying to keep their communities, organizations, and associations from sinking in tough economic times are either lacking, or deficient in, that vital element of true leadership character.

In Zimbabwe’s political environment, we have seen political leaders fall apart, ethically and morally. Many leaders start strong (or appear to), only to end up “crashing and burning.” A number of leaders have operated under a reputation of integrity that was only a façade. While they appeared competent and well-adjusted on the outside, they lacked real substance within.

Meanwhile, other people in positions of power have been hindered by incompetence because they have never learned solid leadership principles and how to implement them. Zimbabwe on a cumulative basis, and compared to other countries in the region , had foreign direct investment inflows amounting to US$ 1.7 billion over the period of 1980 to 2013 whereas , Zambia and Mozambique received US $7.7 billion and US $ 15.8 billion ,respectively. One of the reasons for this, is the high level of corruption in Zimbabwe’s business sector which has created a gloomy atmosphere that cannot attract enough investment. We have to change or nothing will ever change.

The judicial system has to present and adopt effective young structures and models that help to reduce political imbalance especially from the execution point of view. Bribes and irregular payment are often exchanged in return for favorable court decisions in our judicial system such loopholes have to be dealt with. Nonetheless, the judicial system in Southern Africa is affected by shortage of judges and lack of resources and training, causing a backlog of cases and slow judicial processes.

Kudzai Goremusandu is a strategic, innovative, dynamic, goal getter, enterprising leader and leadership consultant. He is the founder of Africa Leadership Insights Institute .Kudzai holds an award for effective media communication from the University of Zimbabwe. Kudzai is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at kgoremusandu@gmail.com

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