Ken: African leaders must face their challenges and solve them Featured

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has asked African leaders to face the challenges confronting the continent and solve them.

He argued that there are leadership tools that can be used to resolve the seemingly unsurmountable problems, and cited the examples of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jnr, among others, who confronted the challenges of their times.

“At some point, we cannot hide behind the problem because there is no problem which is insurmountable. When you are confronted with a problem, you need to reflect over it and apply yourself in order to come up with the appropriate solution,” he declared.

Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking on the Springboard: Your Virtual University show on Joy FM with Reverend Albert Ocran. They discussed African Leadership Initiative West Africa (ALIWA) and the quest for a good society.

Raising leaders

Mr Ofori-Atta revealed another side of his interests: the development of leaders committed to the creation of a good society.

He explained that his passion for creating new leaders is what led to the formation of the Africa Leadership Initiative, and that the impetus to develop transformational leaders was triggered when he was invited to the Aspen Institute in Colorado, United States, in 2001.

On his return from the conference, as a Henry Crown Fellow, he launched a leadership fellowship in West Africa, which has now grown from the initial 24 pioneers to 422 members.

The Henry Crown Fellowship

Mr Ofori-Atta told Reverend Ocran that the Henry Crown Fellowship, where ALIWA began, was established to look for individuals who had been successful in their respective fields and explore how to build their individual successes into something significant for the good of their respective communities and society at large.

“I was invited into the fellowship in a period which coincided with the dotcom era, when a number of young people in the USA had become fabulously rich. And the question on the table was: ‘How do you translate your success, which is individualistic, into something significant that can impact your society?’ ” Mr Ofori-Atta recalled.

“I was lucky to have been invited to the programme through Mr Peter Reiling, who had been the head of TechnoServe Ghana and gone on to become president of TechnoServe in the USA. Through his recommendation, I became the first African to be invited to the fellowship,” he said.


It was this that gave birth to ALIWA, Mr Ofori-Atta said. “The seed for my leadership project was first sown in Cape Coast with a class of 24, half from Ghana and the other half from Nigeria,” he said.

Among the pioneer fellows from Ghana are Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, now board chairman of the National Communication Authority; Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General; and Frank Adu Jnr, the former managing director of CALBank.

Other ALIWA fellows in Ghana include the president of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah, who won the McNulty Prize; Essie Annoh-Sackey, co-founder of the Legacy Girls’ College; and Dr Esi Ansah, chief executive of Axis Human Capital.

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Last modified on Saturday, 28 March 2020 03:29


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