Between November 10 and 12 2011, business leaders and their public-sector counterparts from Africa and beyond converged in Accra for the Vodafone African Business Leaders Forum.
The leaders deliberated on a wide range of issues surrounding leadership and development in Africa. They shared insights on political and business leadership, corporate governance, Africa’s growth and development, media development, education, women leadership, investment, energy, entrepreneurship, youth development, agriculture and information technology.
- On Africa’s leadership and development agenda, leaders recognised that Africa needs strong leaders who can build strong institutions. African leaders need to be creative and innovative in solving our problems by harnessing the continent’s resources to generate increasing wealth, and depart from the current practice of distributing existing wealth.
- On education leaders noted that education is useless if it can’t be used to effect change. Education should be intended to bring about social transformation. Africa needs to train its peoples using the right value-based models to invent local solutions to our problems.
- Leaders acknowledged that government participation is necessary for the growth of African economies, particularly in the development of a vibrant private sector and in the development of critical infrastructure.
- On women in leadership and development, leaders agreed women should be integrated fully into mainstream business, leadership and the development process.
- On energy, leaders agreed that Africa has a huge shortfall in maximising its resource potential. There is therefore the need for increased investment in the sector and the use of innovative technologies to tap the vast energy potential. We also need to have vibrant local content so that Africa’s people and businesses can benefit from the sector.
- For effective business leadership, it was agreed that leaders must demonstrate some important principles. They must exhibit integrity, respect and the willingness to do more to meet the needs of people.
- Innovation and entrepreneurship were identified as crucial to taking advantage of the many business opportunities in Africa. Innovation should run through every organisation, both public and private.
- On the media and the African development agenda, leaders called for a responsible and ethical media that highlights the progressive issues relevant to Africa’s development.
- The conclusions reached on finance, banking and investment included expanding and growing the informal financial sector, strengthening capital markets and enforcing robust regulations.
- Leaders recognised agriculture as one of Africa’s strengths. It was agreed countries must act quickly to mitigate climate-change risks and push policies that raise productivity and incomes.