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Olaopa sets agenda for African leaders at Texas conference

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African leaders have been advised to build effective institutions, as this is the only way to rescue the continent from underdevelopment, poverty and stagnation.

This was the submission of Executive vice-chairman of Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP) Dr. Tunji Olaopa who was the keynote speaker at the 18th Africa Conference, held between March 30 and April 1, at University of Texas at Austin U.S. This year’s theme was titled “Leadership and Institutions in Africa.”

Olaopa whose keynote address was entitled, “Transforming Africa’s Institutions: The Challenges of Politics, Development and Reform” said that it is only the institutionalizing imperative that will unite African leadership and citizens into a comparative development of inclusive institutions.

The conference, which is an annual gathering of intellectuals from across the world discusses thematic issues that are germane to the understanding of Africa and African diaspora was convened by Professor Toyin Falola, a professor of History, the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair Professor in the Humanities, and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Olaopa argued that deepening poverty which even the celebrated jobless growth of the yesteryears did not alleviate, reduces the chances of elections that are issues-based which in turn limits the potentials for emergence of transformational in most African countries.

He explained that the chances of African countries breaking out of their logjam nonetheless demands dynamics that will, in time, create a new generation of detribalised and cosmopolitan leaders.

According to him, these leaders should be distinguished by their managerial sophistication and policy intelligence and therefore, inspire by example and drive critical movements to rebuild institutions to create capable developmental states; distil compelling value propositions in African political economies that could shape new ideologies with regard to the role of the state relative to market as African alternative to Washington Consensus inspired neoliberalism

Olaopa said: “that achieving this momentum requires that African governments remodel the business of governance through institutional renewal and a cultural adjustment programme-inspired values reorientation.

This new wave, he argued, will create shifts from short-term policy orientation to more longer-term concerns; from certificated illiteracy education outputs trends to skills orientation cum reflective practices and from profligacy and rabid consumerism to an investment orientation”.

Furthermore, Olaopa emphasized that Africa’s transformation suggests that there is a new generation of institutions and values propelled leaders who are sophisticated enough to successfully:

“Reject foreign economic and development paradigms that are at odd with Africa’s interests and future; generate local economic frameworks that, for instance, encourage local consumption; scale up investment in education and the creation of a patriotic human capital invested with the will to transform Africa; facilitate a significant collaborative endeavors that transform Africa’s economic and technological future through research and development (R&D); and put in place several institutional reform strategies.


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ISGPPTunji Olaopa
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