The Africa We Want

I am currently in Ghana for a 3-week summit by Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Center hosted at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Accra, and this is a summary of my first week at the summit.

I will not repeat the everyday detail (you most likely experienced it or saw it live on my Instagram handle and/or social media updates). I will focus on the lessons. These lessons are very important for us to scale our work and particularly, to create the world of our dreams. They are the reasons I share these updates. I will like to share two key things that stood out for me.

Sustainability remains a key factor in our work

From the civic leadership class to the guest speakers’ sessions, one word kept recurring ‘sustainability’. I have come to think of it as the fuel that keeps the car running. You don’t want to just have a luxurious car, you definitely want to keep driving it.

Mr Chico said, “Civic Leaders, forget about the impact for the next 3 months; think about money”. “You already know how to create impact, think about money”.

In a week in which Ghana talked extensively about doing without aids, we need to focus more on internal funding. From the deliberations in the civic class, the take home is creating a financial model for the organisation.

Add accountability, ethical leadership and a great team structure; you will be creating a mega-institution.

Our strength lies in our diversity

In this past week, I have listened to different people (imagine staying in the same compound with all these great minds coupled with the facilitators) and internalise what they do using Simon Sinek’s golden circle (Why, How and What).

I am a medical scientist and a health advocate working on preventable deaths with an amazing team, The Wellbeing Initiative (you can imagine the experience). In this one week, I have met people different fields.

From #NotTooYoungToVote to Roboga to Pep Naija, from people in government to entrepreneurs creating their own world; I have had the privilege to pick their brains and look at things from different perspectives.

So, I have this dream to influence health policies in Nigeria but then I met a friend from Cameroon who was invited by their Country’s legislature – he is changing the narrative as regards education in his community.

I met a commonwealth scholar who is in the medical sciences with deep interests in entrepreneurship. As I sit in my cubicle (I’m the silent guy people don’t notice), I imagine the world we are creating – the Africa, We Want (our individual and collective roles).

It’s very important we all realize our place in this fight. The political movement driven by youths in Nigeria is an illustration of this capacity.

I believe strongly that we’ll only shape this world because of you and me. How about you define your why, how and what; work hard and scale your work. The world is waiting.


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