Inaugural programme – October/November 1988 Ota, Nigeria
The issues considered covered a wide range of leadership challenges to African development. They were addressed in lectures, structured discussions and group seminars and interaction. The discussion of well-known exogenous causes of a historic or global nature besieging African development were supplemented by an in-depth analysis of the root problems and related to leadership deficiencies in virtually all fields of societal activity. The programme resulted in a number of recommendations, the implementation of which may help to pave the way for a more conscious and systematic approach in many sectors paying special attention to the critical factors of leadership performance and capability. Some of the specific action-oriented recommendations were:
(a) More serious and concrete efforts should be deployed to increase regional co-operation and integration within the various sub-regions of Africa and the continent as whole;
(b) Structural adjustment programmes should aim at true structural transformation of an economy benefiting its long-term growth and not causing a deterioration to the situation of the most vulnerable groups within the society;
(c) Institutions should be developed that can translate political independence to broad-based popular democracy, liberty, accountability and participatory politics and economics;
(d) African leaders should hold regular sessions of introspection on specific issues to review performance and the general direction of governance;
(e) As a matter of immediate urgency, governments should make relentless efforts towards ensuring food security devising and implementing new, imaginative and practical policy initiatives;
(f) As Africa, unlike other parts of the world, has no regional institute, center or think-tank for long-range studies, policy formulation and analysis, consultations should be initiated towards establishing an African Center/Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies;
(g) The feasibility of publishing a journal on African leadership issues should be explored, to present positive role models of leadership and to serve as a channel of communications.
One central message emanating form the first programme was that Africa has become marginalized in world politics and in the world economy. A further deterioration of this situation can, to a considerable extent, be prevented by strengthening the capacity and capabilities of existing and future leaders. To that end an intensified outreach and sensitization is required with a view to pushing the complex African problems to the forefront of the international debate and have them reflected in, and integrated into, global perspectives and action.
All subsequent programmes carried out during 1989 were drawn up in the light of the recommendations by the inaugural programme.