Unleashing potential of African leaders and shaping a brighter future for Africa

The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) Africa provides an inclusive platform for dialogue, information dissemination, and networking.

The Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) Africa provides an inclusive platform for dialogue, information dissemination, and networking.

Its programmes are underpinned by rigorous research into all aspects of African heritage, to shape policy and practice on critical issues of governance, integrated economic development, and the evolution of African institutions.

Through its programmes, it seeks to address the short, medium, and long-term developmental challenges facing Africa in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

This article gives a snap view of MINDS activities and events held in 2023 that transforms leadership landscape in Africa.

Some of the events include, but are not limited to youth programme on elections and governance (YPEG) effective electoral participation, training on leadership development, and round table discussion on realising the Pan-African dream through transformational leadership.

Youth programme on elections and governance

On  March 7, 2023, the MINDS-hosted webinar shed light on the experiences of young Nigerians during the 2023 Nigerian national elections, exploring the challenges they faced and the significance of their participation in the political process.

In this era of political transformation, their role in elections has become increasingly crucial — with a staggering 60% of Nigeria’s population under 30, youth participation in the pivotal election held the potential to shape the nation’s future.

Technology, especially social media, was highlighted as a powerful tool for inspiring youth to vote and raising awareness about political issues.

The future is rich with possibilities for the youth if they actively initiate these conversations; we must advance in our discourse.

Their increased political participation can arise from improving the conditions they face.

A key question was raised about sustaining youth enthusiasm in the face of poor electoral transparency.

To ensure youth remain informed and active, panelists stressed the need to foster interest in good governance, mentorship programs, and leadership development opportunities.

The webinar served as a reminder of the potential that young people hold in shaping their destinies and political landscapes.

MINDS remains committed to exploring ways to foster a more inclusive and participatory democracy in Africa and looks forward to future engagements that empower African youth to make their voices heard.

Training on leadership development

In a world of accelerating change and interconnected challenges, the need for effective and innovative leadership has never been more crucial.

Recognising this imperative, MINDS hosted its 2023 Leadership Development Training on 23 April 2023, bringing together over 30 MINDS Scholars from across the continent.

In line with the theme of “Leading Across Borders and Cultures: Pan-African Innovation and Adapting to the New Normal post-Covid, from Personal-Pan- African-Global Contexts.”, this year’s training adopted a virtual format, enabling participants to engage in dynamic discussions.

Through real-life case studies and discussions, the training equipped scholars with the essential skills and knowledge to navigate the complex leadership landscape, encouraging them to emerge as courageous and adaptable leaders in a post-pandemic world.

The programme covered critical topics such as courageous leadership, time management, resilience and effective decision-making strategies while navigating complex situations.

Pan-African Leadership in Action was the highlight of the training participants discussed leveraging the continent’s rich cultural diversity and collective strengths to drive sustainable development, affirming empathy, active listening, and effective communication in building trust and fostering collaborative relationships has essential skills for leaders navigating a globalized and interconnected world.

The MINDS community remains committed to nurturing and empowering these emerging leaders, providing them with the opportunities and support they need to make a positive impact on Africa and the world.

Africa Day commemoration

On  May 25, 2023, MINDS commemorated Africa Day with a focus on advancing the groundbreaking African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and amplifying the voices of young people, social enterprises, and businesses.

 The event took centre stage in exploring the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a significant agreement set to enhance intra-African trade, foster economic integration, and establish a single market for goods and services across the continent.

The discussion focused on gaining a mutual understanding of the agreement’s advantages for every community layer, emphasizing support for groups that have been historically marginalized.

Through engaging discussions, interactive sessions, and insightful presentations, participants gained a richer perspective on the AfCFTA’s role in reshaping Africa’s economic framework.

Strategies were explored to navigate challenges, identify partnership opportunities, and create actionable plans to capitalise on the agreement for inclusive and sustainable growth.

Participants highlighted the crucial role of young people, social enterprises, and businesses in driving the AfCFTA’s success, recognising the need to empower youth, support social enterprises, and create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and acknowledged the collective responsibility to create opportunities for all Africans to participate in and benefit from the AfCFTA.

Realising the Pan-African dream through transformational leadership

On the eve of Mandela Day, MINDS scholars were engaged to explore the essence of transformational leadership.

This dialogue encouraged scholars to reflect on their role as youth and future leaders. This prompted scholars to go on a journey of self-discovery and encouraged them to work together to achieve the Pan-African vision.

Scholars committed to frequent self-led meetings, a testament to their resolve to take cues from Mandela’s legacy for positive community impact.

Commemorating Mandela Day, scholars took on the challenge to exemplify transformational leadership through 90-minute projects.

Their projects outlined below showcased leadership not as a position of power, but to uplift and transform society.

  • Pan-African Interactive Digital Platform: An inclusive platform sharing African stories, heritage, heroes, and leaders. Users can contribute to promoting transformative leadership and Pan-Africanism while providing an engaging learning experience.
  • African Leaders Co-Creation Hub: A virtual space fostering dialogue and collaboration to redefine leadership, promote cooperation, and expand networks among MINDS Scholars, youth movements, and civil society organisations.
  • Nelson Mandela Leadership Masterclass: Engaging projects and activities inspiring individuals to embrace their leadership potential, contributing to community and continental advancement.
  • Promoting Youth Leadership Through Awareness: Webinar events targeting youth and students to create awareness about inspiring African leaders and discuss their challenges and positive impacts.
  • Digital Mental Health Awareness Day: Advocating for mental health care in Lesotho, with a vision of creating supportive environments and accessible mental health care by 2030.

These initiatives and discussions serve as a testament to the commitment of MINDS scholars to take control, work collaboratively, and drive positive change towards the realisation of the Pan-African Dream. These young leaders continue to make a significant impact on their communities and the continent.

MINDS opportunities

Youth with a passion for Africa’s development can unleash their leadership potential with the MINDS Scholarship Programme for Leadership Development. Explore the richness and diversity of Africa as they study in a different country, forging a network of like-minded leaders. Together, they accelerate growth, generate positive outcomes, and shape the future of our beloved continent.

Tailored leadership development activities will nurture continental mindset, fostering cooperation between African nations.

*Ronald Zvendiya is an independent economic analyst.

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These weekly articles are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale (Private) Limited, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe. Email — [email protected] and mobile No.+263 772 382 852.

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