African leaders have been challenged to prioritise the growth of the continent, and to care about humanity and welfare of the continent’s 1.2 billion population over possible selfish tendencies.
Tony Elumelu, founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, and chairman, Heirs Holdings and the United Bank for Africa, said this at the inaugural Africa Now Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, this week. In a keynote address on “The Leadership Needed to Catalyse Africa’s Transformation,” to an audience of public and private sector leaders on Tuesday, Elumelu offered a robust and direct message to African leaders from the public and private sectors.
“The leaders we need in Africa today, are leaders who genuinely care about humanity. We need leaders who are driven by an ambition to leave society better than they met it. We need leaders who understand and care about creating a positive legacy. We need leaders who are genuinely committed and care about the future of Africa,” Elumelu said.
Hosted by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Africa Now Conference, an initiative of the Africa Strategic Leadership Centre, gathered Heads of State, public and private sector leaders to discuss and develop growth opportunities for the continent.
In his speech, President Museveni outlined key enablers required to empower the African people and transform the continent.
“With independence, although a lot of time was lost with military governments engaged in primitive fascism, nevertheless, many African governments have correctly identified two crucial stimuli that can catalyse social transformation. These are education and health for all (human resource development) and private sector-led growth.”
Elumelu commended President Museveni on the achievements of his country, emphasising the need for public-private sector collaboration to drive sustainable development, encapsulated in his economic philosophy, Africapitalism.
According to Elumelu, leadership should not be about directing blame, leadership is not about absolving responsibility. Leadership is the catalyst for positive change. “We need to take collective responsibility for our own future – as I have often said, no one is going to do it but ourselves – whether we are in the public or private sectors.
“This is the philosophy of Africapitalism, which is a call on the private sector to play its role, the leading role in securing our continent’s destiny – and achieving it by creating both social and economic wealth,” he said.
Speaking on the concept of shared prosperity, Elumelu stated that the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme was a robust mechanism to empower Africa’s entrepreneurs, with the goal of efficiently and effectively delivering wealth creation directly into local communities. Reiterating the importance of entrepreneurship in unleashing the continent’s true potential, Elumelu concluded by making a call to partners, charging private sector leaders to focus on inclusive wealth.
“As private sector leaders, we realise that, if the wealth we have is not inclusive, if the prosperity we have is just for family and self, it will not help us create the society we need” he concluded.