During the Cape Town Collaboration Meeting, 11-16 September 2017, 55 specifically chosen African and International Business, Prayer and Transformation Leaders gathered to work towards forming a unified vision for God’s heart for Africa and our role in it.
These leaders came from different spheres of influence:
During the meeting, we worked on identifying what are the five key challenges facing Africa today and what is God challenging us to do to address these? The inventory below will form a foundation for future meetings that we will organize in the regions themselves. Our aim: to create a divinely-inspired roadmap for change and transformation that will have the potential to become a guide for focussed action.
Dr. Arleen M. Westerhof
Founder and Executive Director, European Economic Summit
Five key challenges facing Africa
A lack of good and able leaders in every sphere of society was considered to be the most pressing challenge facing Africa today. Visionary leaders who empower their constituents and who use their offices to serve people are in desperately short supply.
A key limiting factor is that there is a shortage of those who can serve as positive role models in an African context. This, in turn, creates a lack of mentors, coaches and qualified advisors to current and future leaders.
Good leaders have consistent core values, clear vision, empowering relationships, and demonstrate the ability to think and to act innovatively. Good leaders also think generationally, devoting time and energy to succession and to preparing the next generation of future leaders.
It was clear that educating, training and equipping Africa’s future leaders is a key priority. In addition to education and skills training in their respective areas of expertise, mentoring in the areas of identity, ethics, mindsets and creating enabling and entrepreneurial cultures should be important components in raising up new leaders for Africa’s future.
Delegates at the Cape Town meeting were unanimous in their conclusion that corruption is crippling Africa’s economies and robbing her of her future. As such, it ranks second on the list of the top 5 challenges facing Africa today.
The IMF defines corruption as "an abuse of public office for private gain." It also includes tax evasion and arbitrary tax exemptions that give citizens little incentive to pay taxes themselves. Corruption erodes public trust, undermines the rule of law and delegitimizes the state.
Recent IMF and OECD Reports conclude that the amount lost to the world economy every year due to corruption is equivalent to 2-5% of world GDP. (https://www.voanews.com/a/global-corruption-imf-report/3326392.html, https://www.oecd.org/cleangovbiz/49693613.pdf).
One of the challenges in combatting corruption is that of where do you draw the line? In highly relational cultures, for example, it is customary to give gifts to leaders. When does a gift become a bribe and when is it simply just a gift?
Key priorities in combatting corruption are the codifying and enforcement of anti-corruption laws and the rewarding of ethical behaviors in society.
A role allotted to the Church will be to help populations move from a “Christian mindset” to a “Christlike mindset.” Many of Africa’s nations claim to be Christian but are not able to live out the values of Christlikeness in everyday life.
Education and knowledge were ranked as the third key challenge facing Africa today. The “one size fits all”, school in a box, rote results-based models will not produce the literate, creative problem-solving employees and entrepreneurs that global societies require. New models of education reform with vision are needed, eg. Bridge Schools (Effective and scalable with internet connectivity), Kipp Schools (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter model in the USA, the new ways of teaching children pioneered by Dr. Caroline Leaf (especially effective in cultures where malnutrition has played a role in affecting brain development in infants).
Whichever models are chosen, they should include entrepreneurial education and training beginning as early as primary school. Increasing universal access to primary and secondary education for both girls and boys, improving teacher and education administrator training, and increasing internet connectivity and the use of mobile and internet technology are key success factors for the future.
Developing a sense of identity, both personal and national, is fourth on our list of key challenges facing Africa. The triune God is relational. Being made in God’s image, human beings are also inherently relational. Before the fall, God established four foundational relationships for each person. A relationship with:
Our primary relationship.
We are creating in God’s image and as such, have inherent dignity, worth, and authority.
We are to live in shalom with each other and with creation.
the rest of creation. The “Cultural Mandate” of Gen. 1:26-28 teaches that God created us to be stewards, people who understand, protect, suede and manage the world (and our nations) that God created. Concepts such as ownership (instead of relying on aid), taking responsibility (instead of leaving things to others) and realizing individual, as well as national potential, originate from this idea. One of the strategies to address this challenge will be to develop a language around values and character that is different from spirituality.
Our mindsets have everything to do with our worldview and our values. Developing a mindset that recognizes the (historic) importance of Judeo-Christian values and the Gospel of the Kingdom (which includes, but is not limited to the Gospel of Salvation) for prosperous societies is last on our list of five key challenges facing Africa today. These concepts support ideas such as being creative and being a producer and not just a consumer.
Africa is considered to be the next investment frontier with 1.4 billion young people by 2050. The top-ranked sectors are the consumer, financial and telecom sectors. There is a growing investment trend in industrials, power, energy, transport real estate, and healthcare. (Elie Aloko, robeco.com. https://www.robeco.com/media/e/d/2/ed295ec45bdb2017c15278ab750a174e_africa-the-next-investment-frontier-january-2016_tcm22-3246.pdf).