The Chief Executive Officer of Progeny Ventures, an international investment firm, Dr Kofi Amoah, has challenged African business leaders to address the issue of what he termed “personal leadership” and “integrity” to hasten the development of the continent.
He said issues of personal leadership and integrity were core to the development of the continent as the collective leadership and integrity would bring about change.
He also challenged Africans to take up the mantle of discipline, ensure environmental cleanliness and uphold personal dignity.
Contributing to a debate on “Leadership and Poverty Reduction” at the fifth African Business Leaders Forum in Accra yesterday, Dr Amoah said “Africa is not poor, but we have created poverty around us.”
Dr Amoah, who is leading Ghana's preparation for Africa's football fiesta next year, lamented the poor environmental hygiene in the cities of Africa.
He cited the filth that had engulfed the gutters in many African cities, which, he said, had created the impression of filth across Africa and therefore challenged Africans to ensure personal hygiene.
Dr Amoah again stated that reports of the government spending six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on malaria prevention and treatment were unacceptable, adding that the amount of $700 million could be used to cover drains and gutters to prevent malaria.
“Our lack of personal discipline and leadership has sidelined us from the rest of the world,” he stated, and called for a change of the mindset of Africans.
For his part, the Executive Chairman of Databank, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, said there was the need for leaders across Africa to demonstrate compassion towards securing better conditions for the people.
He said the challenge facing the continent was the need to develop the requisite infrastructure that would free the people to exploit their potential to the full.
Mr Ofori-Atta stated that other countries, such as China and India, had been able to reduce poverty over a 30-year period. However, poverty in Africa had rather exacerbated over the same period and expected to be pervasive in the next decade.
The Governor of Ogun State in Nigeria, Mr Daniel Gbenga Otunba, in his contribution, said the era of aid for development was gone and that there was the need to ensure credible leadership that would tackle poverty at all levels.
He called on African governments to build market niches that would confer on them competitive advantages that would eventually reduce poverty.
Mr Ali Mufuruki, the Chairman of Infotech Investment Group, an investment group in Tanzania, called for leadership that would be robust and create wealth and also equip the youth with the requisite tools for development.
In his welcoming address, the Publisher of Business in Africa magazine and Founder of the African Business Leaders Forum, Mr Everest Ekong, said the forum was to create the platform for African business leaders to chart a new course for the continent.
He added that a unique feature of this year's forum was the invitation of 101 young African leaders to create a spirit of information sharing and networking as well as create the environment for the young businessmen to network.
The two-day conference has attracted 64 renowned African business leaders across the continent and is on the theme “Leadership Through Partnership”.
It is the first time the forum was being organised outside South Africa. It was organised in collaboration with the [email protected] Secretariat.
Story by Boahene Asamoah