2nd December, 2015
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said good leadership is the key to unlocking the economic potentials of Africa.
The political leader said this while delivering his remarks at the formal launch of the Centre for African Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CAEL) and his investiture as the Patron at the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, on Monday.
He was represented at the event by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the event had about eight Nigerian senators in attendance including Gbenga Ashafa, Adeola Solomon, Marafa Buhari and Ajayi Boroffice.
According to a press release by the university, the CAEL aims to build knowledge and capacity in Africa as well as provide research and policy development.
CAEL provides short courses and executive and doctoral training in the UK and Africa and also develops academic partnerships with African universities – these include the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, the University of Maiduguri, College of Education Minna and Bayero University Kano in Nigeria – and it focuses on developing sustainable schemes to support SMEs, graduate and youth employment.
In his speech to the august audience, Tinubu said Africa is ready to grow its commerce and industry but needs visionary leadership to follow through.
“Africa is now, more than ever, primed for economic growth and productive partnerships,” he said. “Citizens have become more aware and more engaged in the process of choosing their own leaders. They are dismantling undemocratic structures that have held them back far too long. African economies are increasingly becoming more rational and focused on identifying what shall be their critical path to development. They are seeking to be integrated into the global economy but according to their own definitions of their own benefit and interests. This will provide opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish and for those investors willing to harmonize their interests with those of a more independently-minded Africa.
“Visionary, yet practical, leadership is essential to this process. National leadership must establish the right policies, provide the necessary infrastructure and create the enabling institutional environment under which ambitious entrepreneurs can become productive. Without economically astute leaders, entrepreneurial development is significantly hindered and limited. And without democracy, responsive leadership is a rarity almost impossible to come by.”
The party leader said his passion for visionary and disciplined leadership is why he has invested a considerable portion of his adult life to mentoring new leaders who can create opportunities for Africans to reach their full potentials. He said he is glad to see many of those he worked with excelling and inspiring others.
Tinubu praised the entrepreneurial spirit of Africans and highlighted the nexus between small businesses and the progress of the continent.
“African progress hinges on our ability to wed democratic good governance with innovative entrepreneurship in Africa. Entrepreneurs are very important to any economy, to the growth of African economies especially. They own the small to medium scale businesses that employ the bulk of the work force. They create wealth and provide essential goods and services. They can also form the cutting edge of innovation. They are the major agents leading us from poverty alleviation to poverty eradication and toward economic growth,” he said.
Tinubu thanked the CAEL for its commitment and sincerity in establishing the Centre and seeking the betterment of Africa. He lauded the Centre’s initiatives for promoting entrepreneurship and democratic governance in Africa.
“I have no choice but to support the Centre for it is doing what I believe it should do,” he said in conclusion.
“Thus, I have no reservation accepting my nomination as the Patron of the Centre. I am honoured to do so. I thank the university for nominating me. I am confident that the university through the Centre can achieve greater things through the vision of its founders – ‘with Africans and for the true benefit of Africa.’”