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Leadership and the Politics of Reform in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria

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Published on Sep 20, 2016

The question of leadership and governance has loomed over most discussions of the continent’s current state and potential future development. The issues the continent faces include questions about the goals, purpose, and types of leadership; the trends and trajectories of leadership and governance; the challenges faced by African leaders in their quest for nation-building; and the threat posed by some leaders to their own citizens. These issues have become more pressing as many governments struggle to deliver services and provide the effective governance that their citizens demand. Often lost in the almost singular focus on the presidency is that the continent also boasts capable leaders across all levels of society, including many who are making a positive difference on critical issues and in their communities. A more comprehensive look at leadership and governance is critical to Africa’s future. What are the biggest challenges facing Africa on the leadership and governance front? What lessons – good and bad – can we draw from successful reformers at the national, regional, and local levels? How can leaders engage or balance vested interests to tip the scales in favor of the kind of positive change that benefits the vast majority of ordinary people? And how can change be institutionalized so that governance reforms persist beyond a leader’s tenure? What sort of leaders will Africa need to become globally competitive?

Please join the Wilson Center Africa Program as H.E. Babatunda Fashola reflects on his tenure as Governor of Lagos and his current position as Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing to provide a practitioner’s perspective on questions of leadership and governance in Africa. As the governor of Lagos State from 2007 to 2015, H.E. Fashola is acknowledged for his governance reforms to increase tax collection, improve service delivery, and enhance government responsiveness and transparency. Now a key minister in President Buhari’s cabinet, H.E. Fashola is responsible for the combined ministerial portfolios for Power, Works, and Housing, all portfolios with daunting challenges.

H.E. Fashola’s presentation on “Leadership and the Politics of Reform in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria,” will take place on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 2:00-3.30pm in the Wilson Center’s 6th floor auditorium. This event marks the launch of the Africa Program’s project on inclusive governance and leadership in Africa, which will highlight key leadership and governance challenges; distill lessons learned from innovations across the national, state, and local levels; and provide options for strengthening the institutions, systems, and processes that underpin effective governance.

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