According to Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa; ‘In whatever you do, strive to be the best at it”. Steve jobs saw the future of technology and computer and he changed the world forever, by becoming the model for every business worldwide. Every nation needs someone who can be a beacon of hope, providing illumination and guidance for the future. In Africa for instance, since the demise of Nelson Mandela, there has been a dearth of true leadership. The kind that could provide the much needed inspiration for young entrepreneurs and become a model for leadership in business and every other facet of life.
However, one man is inspiring Entrepreneurs and young people in Africa through leading by example. He is President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast. One thing that makes his story stand out is that he fought very hard to defend his mandate even in the face of imposing opposition. He fought the greedy and power drunk critics who preferred the devastation of war which resulted in the death of more than 3,000 Ivorians, to the serenity of peace. In the face of adversity and adversaries, he stood for what he believes.
He was twice barred from running in presidential elections in 1995 and 2000 because he was regarded as a foreigner – Burkinabe. He was heavily criticised for being too Western because he married a French Lady. After the 2010 Polls, which the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the country says he won, he was denied the Presidency by the opposition, which preferred the devastation of war resulting in the death of more than 3,000 people, rather than to concede over power to Ouattara. Supported by the people, he never gave up his mandate until the people’s voice was heard and he was sworn in as President.
Within 2 years in power, President Alassane Ouattara revived the country’s war ravaged economy, with over 8% growth. He institutionalised policies that encouraged growth, investment and never-before-seen increment in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). It was recorded that private investment soared 28% in 2014 from a year earlier to reach $1.65 billion.
He built new highways and dams, cut red tape for businesses and increased cocoa output. The power situation improved so much that in Ivory Coast where, just last year, out of the entire 365 days of the year, they were ONLY without power supply for 29 hours. A feat Nigeria is yet to achieve.
President Alassane Ouattara’s biggest achievement so far is a $300Million toll bridge and its Multi-Storey interchanges which have transformed the City, dissolving many of its traffic jams and pushing up Real Estate prices in surrounding areas.
What is the difference between Ivory Coast which has lesser GDP plus few natural resources, and other African nations with enormous resources and manpower, yet struggle with the provision of basic necessities?
The difference, my people, is leadership and the best way to enforce leadership is to stamp out corruption! If for anything, President Alassane Ouattara has taught us that anything is possible if we set our minds to it.
I Sijibomi Ogundele, CEO/MD of Sujimoto – Nigeria’s leading luxury real estate company, see President Alassane Ouattara as a symbol of hope for African leadership.