COVID-19 brought to light what we already knew – deep rooted structural and systemic inequities and inequalities are thorns in our lives, blatantly causing individuals, communities, and countries on the African continent to lack socio-economic freedom. As we continue to live through the uncertainty of the pandemic, we are also living with the reality that we might not live long enough to see the Africa that we want. The Africa we are currently fighting for is for our children, and their children – not for us.
Fight for a Better Africa, Not for You but for Your Children
According to a report from UNICEF titled Generation 2030 - Africa, there will be a drastic population increase over the next few decades in Africa. UNICEF predicts nearly two billion babies to be born in Africa over the next 35 years. What does this mean for the continent? Africa needs leaders who will meet the needs of the looming population, tackle existing challenges compounded by emerging threats on health, social and economic systems. With the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24) expected to be more than double of the 2015 total of 226 million by 2055, leaders need to create jobs and solve challenges related to the bulging youthful population such as urbanisation, business, healthcare, and education among other critical development pillars.
Good governance and leadership are important, now more than ever. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. In Africa, transformation leadership has become a powerful narrative to keep hopes and dreams alive, even in dire circumstances, people hold on to the possibilities presented by the optimism of tomorrow. And it is true, there is no reason Africa, a land with vast opportunities and immense resources, a vibrant youthful and innovative population, should not be growing at a pace commensurate with these building blocks.
Africa needs to reflect on its leadership trend and establish whether the skills, behaviours and actions of its leaders can not only navigate us through the pandemic, but that the values of leadership that matter most to us encourage competent leaders to run for office, increases the presence of women in leadership and empowers the citizenry to vote for development-orientated leaders – to safeguard the future of generations to come.
Changing the status quo requires us to be bold. To own our voices and position as instruments that determine how Africa can have a progressive future. We must echo this from the top of mountains to the down streams of rivers, from the comfort of our homes as keyboard warriors to the brevity of organized movements. With our cultural vibrancy, resources, and capabilities, we can attain the socio-economic freedom that we earnestly search for. Transformational leadership in Africa is prudent for us to create a world that enhances our probability of living our dreams – a dream easily within our reach.
(The Author, Linda Okero, is a communications and development enthusiast who has been enhancing socio-economic transformation in Micro-Finance, Government, Business Acceleration and Advocacy space. She is the Coordinator of the UNCTAD Youth Action Hub – Kenya, a YALI Alumni and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.)
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Pulse Live Kenya.
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