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Leadership for Inclusive Development

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Africa has been endowed with transformational leaders, many of whom have led liberation movements that have reshaped the course of history. Moreover, business, community and other leaders all play a role in mobilizing society towards productive activities and away from instability, conflict, and narrow interests that clash with the broader public interest. Their actions are shaped, but can also shape, the institutions that frame the political and economic incentives that harness a country’s resources for development.

There is always the risk of complacency in leadership and in the control of resources due to political patronage and interest groups. Accountability lies at the heart of sound leadership including functioning institutions.

Inclusive development encompasses equity, equality of opportunity, and protection in market and employment transitions. It also presupposes political participation by the population. It is an essential ingredient of any successful growth strategy and for advancing human development. Inclusive development requires committed, credible and capable leadership. Strong political leaders understand that growth alone does not guarantee broadly shared improvements in wellbeing. Inclusive development is a conscious, deliberate choice. In turn, the gains from inclusive development build the legitimacy of political leaders, and it makes the citizens more confident that their children will share in the benefits.

Guiding questions

Given this context, participants in the session will be invited to consider the following guiding questions:

  • What are the political and economic gains of adopting an inclusive approach to development?
  • Do countries have to choose between advancing economic growth and deepening democratic governance?
  • What can be done to transform the attitudes and behaviors of leaders to pursue inclusive development as a national development strategy?
  • Are there risks of complacency in leadership, leading to injustice in the control of resources due to political patronage, pressure and interest groups?
  • How should national leaders deal with supranational leadership, in a world where interdependence implies that there is less ability to fully control events within national borders?