His Excellency Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines, was among the political, business and diplomatic leaders who participated in the 7th edition of the International Forum on African Leadership, IFAL, which held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. The event organized by African Leadership Magazine had Prime Minister Gonsalves as one of the keynote speakers. The prime minister, who is the only serving head of government in the world, outside Africa, to have studied in an African University-Makarere University, Kampala, Uganda, outlined some of the factors responsible for Africa’s stunted growth and what can be done to leapfrog development in the continent. Here are 10 key takeaways from his speech:
- Great Leaders make history, but, only to the extent that circumstances of history permit them to make
- The role of a leader is simply to examine the strengths and weaknesses; possibilities and limitations facing his people at every stage and to push the boundaries of what is possible, fortify and enhance these possibilities, as well as try as humanly possible to scale all limitations and weaknesses
- The ability to inspire people is a great mark of leadership, but, a far greater mark of leadership is your ability to draw out of people, what they never knew they had in them
- Africa must never allow anyone set limitations on her path, for as surely as the sun rises, there is something great in everyone and no one is better than the other
- African leaders must understand that until they consolidate and pull their individual strengths together, Africa, may never compete favorably on the global stage
- African leaders need to build a modern; competitive; many-sided, post colonial colonies, which are at once, national, regional and global.
- African Leaders have to be more observant and understudy the global economy and respond accordingly. They must learn to resist, where resistance is necessary and accommodate, where accommodation is necessary.
- We are all faced with two choices in our interface with global forces-we either, role-over and play dirty or engage with the global forces, constructively.
- I wish to submit, that, it does not really matter how you organize internally, the totality of the wealth that you produce. Some may move a little to the end of the spectrum of socialism; for some, it might be social-democratic; and for others, it might be some variant of capitalist distribution internally. However, whichever system is utilized, the actual production of the wealth and the utilization of the resources, we have to build our economies in a modern way.
- On the global stage, no one owes anyone anything. For this reason, economies must be competitive to thrive.
The complete speech would be available in the November Edition of the African Leadership Magazine