VENTURES AFRICA – President Macky Sall of Senegal, this week confirmed his intention to shorten the 7-year term accorded to his position by two years. This is a clear diversion from usual route taken by many African leaders who misuse administrative privileges to elongate their stay in power.
From the late Muammar Gaddafi to current Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, the list African dictators far outweighs the number of revolutionary heroes like Mandela. This, many believe, is the key reason why Africa has remained a region of potentials.
Africa is a resource-rich paradise. Its West African powerhouses, Nigeria and Ghana, have an abundance of oiland gold reserves, while Senegal is the world’s home of Cocoa. To the South is where the world goes to find itsCoal and Iron Ore in South Africa, while the North provides some of the most fascinating tourist destinations. All these should have propelled it to the pinnacle of economic development, but for bad leadership. No need recounting the countless socio-economic ills resulting from the shortfalls of its leaders.
However, a few are leaving an exemplary trail for others to follow. Aside Nelson Mandela, who embodies almost every attribute expected of a leader determined to reshape the ineffective status-quo, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia is one of those showing Africans how to lead. The outgoing President is said to have led the former German colony towards becoming “a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights,” according to the BBC. His reward is been named the fourth recipient of the Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership, an award that eludes most African presidents.
President Sall’s daring desire to do what most African leaders shy away from means he is keen on joining the scanty list of those determined to see better governance. “Have you ever seen presidents reduce their mandate? Well I’m going to do it,” President Macky, who was quoted by the Guardian, said in a meeting at the presidency. “We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself.”
A look at the economic impact of the management styles these individuals also show why others must pay attention to their approaches. South Africa had by far the most robust and advanced economy within Africa under Mandela’s rule and beyond, but its position as the number one economy on the continent was recently stolen by Nigeria, under the watch of corrupt President Jacob Zuma. In contrast, Senegal is on an economic recovery path, adding about 1 percent year-on-year to GDP growth since 2012. This coincides withthe year President Sall was elected into office.
From all indications, these leaders have shown that economic development is greatly dependent on the existence of a solid governance structure, and this cue must be followed by others if Africa is to truly nurture its potentials to reality.