Developing great leaders for Africa’s next generation

Wednesday November 28 2018

Education, Science and Technology minister Prof

Education, Science and Technology minister Prof Joyce Ndalichako (right) leads a procession during the 2018 Esami graduation ceremony at Njiro Hills on November, 24. PHOTO|FILE 

By Joyce Lazaro Ndalichako

It is my great honour, to grace this important occasion, by congregating with our hard-working students together with their faculty, relatives and friends, to celebrate the results of their hard work.

On behalf of the host country Tanzania, I am really thankful for being invited to this event. Given that ESAMI operates across the continent, and that several countries are represented here, it is my hope that my message will resonate in your many countries.

My task for today, on this occasion at this moment, is straightforward: To pass on to our graduands some everlasting wise words that hopefully will find space in their hearts and by extension, in the minds of their nations.

Ladies and gentlemen;

We are living in a world that is increasingly complex. A world with vast technological advancement such as artificial intelligence, block chain technology and distributed ledgers on one hand; and an increasingly divided world, raising conflict risks on the other. Old ways are quickly proving inadequate. Waiting to react to situations is no longer acceptable or wise. The way organisations, countries and the world have been led so far will not suffice in future.

As I was contemplating then, just what words of wisdom I should share with you, I thought I should briefly speak on a subject that you, our educated, our core talent, should take to heart. I intend to make a rallying call to you, our graduands, to take our organisations, our countries and indeed our continent to a higher level, and a more splendid outlook; and doing so in a way that harnesses the economic opportunities in the face of the geo-political unpredictability that face us at this time in our history. It is an era which demands a leadership paradigm shift.

Ladies and gentlemen;

Let me at once set the record straight: No one develops another person’s home. The duty to develop Africa rests on Africans, period. Partners can assist. But Africans must lead.

Dear graduands, as our present and future socio-economic and political Pilots, you must take the control and take Africa forward. You must not leave mother Africa in her hour of need. To whom much is given, much is required.

But what kind of leaders is required to transform our landscape and take us on a new economic trajectory? This is what I want to spend a few momenWhen I look at the future, I see the need for a different type of leader. Gone are the days when experience or constantly looking in the rear-view-mirror type of leadership sufficed. This is my message to you: You must be different from your past peers. Among other things, you must develop resilience; You must balance short and long-term optics; You must keep a horizontal and vertical outlook; You should have a global perspective yet holding a strong grounding in local insights; You will need to be leaders who are always ready for any situation thrown at you. Not just ready to lead, but ready-able to lead; Your purpose will now be more important than just performance. You will be called upon to build leadership muscle through coaching and mentorship; You will need to network across industries and countries more than ever; You will need to engage in more collective leadership than hero; and as future leaders you are tasked with becoming different and being better than your past peers. We need pioneers. Be those pioneers!

Ladies and gentlemen;

The challenges being thrown at us are increasingly more sophisticated and never experienced before. Technological advancements are presenting both opportunities and great challenges. Thus, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, we can no longer lead with the same approach we have used up to now. Leading the same way we have done and expecting different results for Africa and for our organizations, is also madness.

Dear graduands, ladies and gentlemen;

I dare saying, when a building appears lop-sided at construction, a wise owner would immediately order demolition and rebuilding. I submit to you here and now, that our institutions, our organizations and yes even our countries find themselves lop-sided in the face of global changes. The call to revert to default factory settings, reconstruct the African leadership and societal blueprint is long overdue. That serious and difficult call falls on your shoulders. The cane is yours. Do not drop it. The flame is being passed to you. Do not extinguish it. Let patriotic passion rise in your hearts and lead this blessed continent to its rightful place in the community of nations. With the right leadership ethos, one that is anchored on the right moral compass, impassioned with long term outlook and a self-less drive to serve, the saying of Africa as the new economic frontier will leap from literature to life, from wishes to willing action; and from dreaming to daring.

A shifted leadership paradigm will move our continent and countries from societies of want in the midst of plenty, to transformed and transitioned inclusive prosperous lands that they ought to be.

Dear graduands, it falls on you, our best brains, to up your leadership approach to lead our countries to a more admirable future; a future that the majority of our people across our national landscapes have and still continue to yearn for. This must be your singular duty: To mix your extensive knowledge acquired at this prestigious institute, with a high moral fiber; and creative capacity to visualize a transformed continent, establish change roadmaps that will harness the continent’s resources both human and natural; to challenge the existing comfort zones, and navigate us to more prosperous times for our peoples. Let this be your purpose, your goal and your lasting legacy.

I want to put forward, my friends, that even more than knowledge, the test of the pudding they say, is in the eating. Knowledge that is not put into use is of no use. This graduation is really a commencement. You must henceforth commence to put to use all of the knowledge to lead and win us the next race. In addition, aspire to be lifelong learners. Victory is certain.

Ladies and gentlemen;

With the skills and knowledge you now possess, more doors than ever will open for you. The knowledge and skills you have will give you access to positions, to financiers, to networks that you could not access before. And for this, you should celebrate; and I heartily join you in that celebration.

I congratulate you for the success you have achieved. You have the ability now to enter virtually any door. To become the executive, you have always wanted to be. The entrepreneur you have dreamed to be. But you must seek to be more than all these.

Wherever destiny takes you, seize the opportunity to be the prototype leader. Never accept the status quo to be the new normal. Challenge even what is working well in order to transform to excellence. Our organizations and nations are too far behind for you to relax.

You may wonder whether it is possible in our part of the world to transform things. Whether it is worth the attempt. Please do not see only with your eyes. Seek to see also with your mind. Determine to envisage what could be. Then go for it. To quote Gandhi and Obama, be the change you want to see.

I submit that any of you that will desire to lead, should be mentally prepared to swim upstream; to go against the current; in any case, only dead fish swim downstream!

It is a wise person who said if you have nothing worth dying for, then you do not deserve to be alive. Another one said, those who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world, are the ones who usually do.

Be prepared to affect your sphere of influence. Be that drop of water that creates a ripple effect across the entire pool. And yes, it is worth all, to live a life that makes the seemingly impossible, possible. Be that person. Choose to live a life that matters. Make a positive impact all around you. Starting today, aim to use the knowledge you have acquired, to bring results in your organizations and countries that lift the lives of our people. Seek to be a better generation of leaders than your past peers.

As I conclude, allow me to say while our continent is referred to as the next or new economic frontier, we are beset with numerous challenges. In an increasingly turbulent world, Africa urgently needs a new leadership paradigm. In nations, organizations and individuals there comes a time to rise, and take a leap into a new landscape. That time is here.

You have been equipped with knowledge, indeed with massive global and emotional intelligence. I therefore challenge you to use this valuable asset to become change agents by becoming strategic leaders of today and tomorrow. Your life style and actions should illuminate hope to your parents and peers especially those who did not climb to this level of the radar.

And now, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a more prosperous future. Your governments, and I personally, have a great confidence in you through your education qualities and skills.

It is my hope that you will use this valuable knowledge and skills to promote the welfare of our nations while addressing critical issues and problems affecting the development of this country. It is my hope that you will join the current efforts of the government to wage war against corruption and other immoralities.

I urge you to contribute to the transformation of our institutions, nations and indeed our continent. The world is your stage. The curtains are open. The heavens are watching. Dear graduands, the ball is firmly in your court. Happy commencement!

Once again, I thank you very much for the honour bestowed to me to participate in this is important event.

I thank you! God bless you all.

Professor Joyce Lazaro Ndalichako (MP) is the minister for Education, Science and Technology.

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