About 100 Fellows of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI), drawn from seven countries across Africa, converged in Accra from February 26 – 29, 2020, to reconnect and engage on Africa’s leadership.
The theme for the 2nd biennial Africa Impact Forum (AIF 2020) was ‘Building to Last: Leadership Vs. Systems’.
The Forum – a follow-up to AIF 2018 held in Stellenbosch, South Africa – aims to deepen the pool of influential, effective and ethical leaders across Africa who assume personal and collective accountability for the ‘Good Society’ by challenging members to build long-term foundations for thriving societies across Africa.
In a keynote address delivered on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Marfo, commended the five founders of ALI – Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta (Ghana), Mr. Issac Shongwe (South Africa), Mr. Romeu Rodriguez (Mozambique), Mr. Peter Reiling (USA), and the late Mr. Ali Mufuruki (Tanzania) for their “foresight in cultivating the leadership that Africa deserves”.
While recognising that both Leadership and Systems are challenged in Africa, the Senior Minister commended the Fellows’ impact in politics, the public and private sectors and, especially, their contribution to building a good society through diverse social interventions and ventures.
He spoke on the importance of organisations such as ALI and their relevance in unearthing leadership talents of the youth and cultivating the next generation of brilliant and highly motivated young professionals. He challenged good leaders to step up and lead, and likened the impact of having ALI Fellows across sectors to the impact of the EmergingPublic Leaders (EPL Ghana) programme – which was launched in August 2019 to encourage the nation’s most brilliant young people to work in the public sector as change agents.
Opening the ceremony, Mr. Ofori-Atta, Henry Crown Fellow, Founder of ALI West Africa and current Minister of Finance, remarked that “this is a call to arms; there is no better time than now for ALI Fellows to rise to the challenges facing the continent. There are shining lights coming from the activities of Fellows. However, a critical mass needs to be attained as well as a pan-African reach, with a sense of urgency. The AIF gives an opportunity to reboot and receive strength for the work before us”.
The Forum was designed to give Fellows the opportunity to reflect on their personal leadership journeys through thought-provoking readings, and to also discuss pertinent issues relevant to the African continent – including AfCFTA and intra-African trade, education, technology, gender, health and the youth bulge with its attendant implications and theresponsibility it portends for African leaders.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Olara Otunnu, Ugandan diplomat and Aspen Institute Trustee, charged the Fellows to create a more equitable Africa where any child in a village can aspire to contribute to the continent; and to translate their successes in the private sector into the broader realm, “because leaders, however able and good, without institutions will falter, become corrupt and will fail”.
Amina Oyagbola, ALI West Africa Chair, in her closing remarks also urged ALI Fellows not to be complacent but continually rise up to the “Challenge of Leadership” and use the forum to re-think, re-fuel, re-strategise and re-align to the vision of ALI.
AIF 2022 will be hosted by ALI East Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.