HomeLUMINAvol. 20 no. 2 (2009)

Poverty as Statescraft: Preliminary Reflection on African Leadership

Adeshina L. Afolayan

Discipline: Political Science, African Politics, Leadership



The one thing that Africa seems to have been blessed with is the capacity to generate abundant epithets and labels that attempt to capture the essence of what is wrong with the continent. Apart from the popular, ideological and enduring "dark continent," a recent more realistic label sees Africa as an "Island of Want." In this imagery, postcolonial Africa is recognized as being confronted with a dilemma of absences: On the one hand, one needs to recover the self-esteem that suffered from the attempt by the colonizers to foist on Africans a different worldview and cultural mindset. On the other hand, Africans need to develop and be a meaningful part of the global processes and flows. The third critical absence is that of a tradition of leadership that will confront the dilemma and thus take Africa out of its debilitating condition.