Centuries ago, Africans were caught off guard by the advent of the First Industrial Revolution, which manifested itself in superior fighting and transport technology.
FILE: PIcture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
At the age of 20, I aspired to be president; and at the age of 30, I was appointed to work in the office of the presidency of my country. A decade on, I developed a healthy respect and deep sense of humility about what it takes to successfully lead and fulfil expectations of all citizens in a poor developing African state.
With 70% of Africans under the age of 30 – mostly poor unemployed and unemployable – I believe there is a dire need for a heightened sense of urgency in the face of growing global and regional political uncertainty.
Centuries ago, Africans were caught off guard by the advent of the First Industrial Revolution, which manifested itself in superior fighting and transport technology. Centuries later past the Scramble for Africa, wars of independence from colonialism, and half a century of struggle to attain economic independence, the continent is confronted with the rising challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While the first revolution was dominated by land ownership and stretched over hundreds of years, the fourth revolution is primarily about knowledge ownership and is moving at the speed of light. This new challenge comes at a time when leaders are grappling with the reality of the failure of past growth to create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.
Leaders around the continent are facing myriad challenges, ranging from investment downgrades and droughts exacerbated by climate change, to illegal migration and civil protests. More worryingly, the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance highlighted that, among others, the rule of law has declined in over 30 countries since 2006.
The path to inclusive growth
In this context, the theme of the forthcoming World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa, in May 2017 is Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership. Building on global-oriented conversations at our Annual Meeting in Davos this year on Responsive and Responsible Leadership, we hope to expand the conversation on identifying new mechanisms to deliver inclusive growth and development with the regional and global leaders gathered in Durban.