Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 election, Peter Obi,has identified leadership recruitment process as the biggest challenge facing Africa and limiting the harnessing of opportunities in the continent.
Obi said as much in his opening remarks, yesterday, at the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Summit in London, titled: ‘Harnessing the African Opportunity.’
He said, “Of all the factors required to properly harness the African opportunities, the most important requiring all the support from strategic partners such as Commonwealth is the political leadership recruitment and sustenance process.”
Reiterating that Africa’s most important deficit remained leadership deficit, he contended that, “The effective and sustainable harnessing of the opportunities in Africa through an agenda/framework rooted in the African consensus will require the enthronement of accountable and responsible leadership across Africa.
“This will be the most effective way through which our internal coherence and external connectedness can be properly harnessed for the sustainable and inclusive growth and development of Africa.”
He listed what he called a few low-hanging fruits that the African Consensus should pursue in collaboration with the Commonwealth.
They included creation of a special fund for the development of infrastructure and African SMEs; Special incentives to promote the export of products and services from Africa to other Commonwealth countries and the world.
He also listed the intentional but aggressive knowledge and skill development exchange between Africa and the Commonwealth, as well as the crafting of an African Development Agenda/Framework that is African-oriented and globally very attractive.
Obi noted that even with the immense potential and opportunities in Africa, many challenges remained and they were related to widespread leadership failures, limited access to funding, inadequate infrastructure, rural-urban migration, limited women and youth empowerment and regulatory barriers are pervasive.
“Africa is home to many people living in extreme poverty, and there are significant deprivations and disparities in income. While these challenges question the sustainability of the progress being made, there is a growing belief that Africa can be on the cusp of a major transformation with the opportunities that abound if the right reforms are pursued,” Obi remarked.