The Ibrahim Leadership Fellows are a cohort of dynamic African leaders from a wide range of cultural backgrounds with diverse professional expertise. Through their work, they are contributing to the transformation of the African continent. Throughout January we will be spotlighting some of their stories.
What motivated you to undertake the Ibrahim Leadership Fellowship?
I wanted to undertake the Fellowship in order to better understand the day to day decision making processes, challenges and successes of a leader of a multilateral. I also wanted to get global experience at a multilateral, increase my expertise in trade and develop a wider network.
How has your Fellowship experience shaped your career?
The Fellowship has had an amazing impact on my career. The most important aspect of the Fellowship was the people I met. I developed an amazing network from whom I learn and that continues to guide me and support my growth to this day.
In your opinion, what is Africa’s biggest development challenge?
Africa's biggest development challenge is the disconnect between political will and planning and investment alignment in order to tackle climate change while solving the energy crisis. Large scale power takes time, so we need short to medium term solutions. Solar is now viable and affordable, but we need other options such as mini-grids and to focus on battery storage.
All the resources (human, minerals, sun, water etc) are all here in Africa. There's no reason why we are still experiencing loadshedding, which affects consumers and productive sectors alike. We need to speed up our pace to get to access to power for all.
Africa is halfway through the First Ten-year Implementation Plan (2014-2023) of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, what is your vision for the continent’s future?
My hope for Africa is political leadership that exists to serve the people. In that, there needs to be a focus on planning and execution of goals to make economies more competitive and self-reliant. Corruption needs to be punished; the culture of impunity must end. Leadership will be representative of the people, i.e. more women, youth and minority groups in positions of leadership.
I'd also like to see African countries as more dominant players on the global stage. Research projections indicate that Africa will account for half of the world's population growth by 2050. That is only 30 years away and I don't think our countries are prepared to deal with the population increase to provide access to services, jobs and decrease inequality.
Who is your favourite African icon and why?
I admire several people for their commitment to positive impact and speaking truth to power. From my time as a MIF Fellow alone, the women I worked with and got to know have been very inspiring.
For instance, Arancha González (Spain's Foreign Minister, former Executive Secretary of the International Trade Centre (ITC)), Valentine Rugwabiza (Rwanda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations), Dorothy Tembo (Acting Executive Secretary, ITC), Bridget Chilala (former WTO Director of WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation) and Emmanuel Ganne (a blockchain and trade expert).