Why African leaders fail

Monday October 15 2012

For the third year running, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation did not deem any of Africa’s past leaders as worth the prize, which, in the past six years, has gone to only three individuals.

Known as the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the award recognises those African leaders who excelled in good governance during their tenures, especially if they relinquished power voluntarily.

But apparently, none of this has happened in the past three years though the $5 million (Sh425 million) award paid over 10 years and $200,000 paid annually for the rest of the beneficiary’s life, is nothing to sneeze at.

But good governance is a rather hard sell in Africa because some leaders believe their survival is synonymous with that of their countries.

Kenya performed relatively well on national security, human development, and public management, and very poorly on infrastructure development, personal safety, accountability, and “sustainable economic opportunity”.

One category that the Foundation should consider is the gap between the rich and poor. If a leader does not deliberately attempt to bridge that gap, then anything else he or she does is a failure.