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African leaders urged to build strong institutions


Dr. Olaopa is executive vice-chairman, Ibadan School of Government & Public Policy (ISGPP).

Leaders of the Africa nations have been urged to build effective institutions as the only mean to rescue the continent from underdevelopment, poverty and stagnation.

Making the suggestion during 18 Africa Conference with theme: ‘Leadership and Institutions in Africa’ held last week at the University of Texas Austin United State, the Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), Dr. Tunji Olaopa said it was only the institutionalizing imperative that would unite African leadership and its citizens into a comparable development of inclusive institutions.

In his key note address titled: ‘Transforming Africa’s Institutions: The Challenges of Politics, Development and Reform’, the former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth Development added that deepening poverty, which even the celebrated jobless growth of the yesteryears did not alleviate, reduces the chances of elections that are issues-based. This in turn limits the potentials for emergence of transformational leadership in most African countries.


He said 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, saying, “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.”

He also urged the leaders to 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: “To achieve this momentum requires that African governments remodel the business of governance through institutional renewal and a cultural adjustment programme-inspired values reorientation,” stressing that the new wave would 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.”

He added 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.

Olaopa who was also honoured at the event with the ‘Thabo Mbeki’ award for Public Service and Scholarship at the event said Africa continent stands a better chance to thrive if the leaders could develop strong 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. Professor Toyin Falola, a professor of History and others, convened it.

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Tunji Olaopa
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