The future of Africa and the world will be greatly shaped by the next generation of African people and leaders, said United States Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday.
Many experts predict that Africa is expected to double in population by 2050, reaching at least 2.5 billion people. Potentially growing to make up a quarter of the world’s population, Africa’s role in the future of the world is astronomical.
“Not only do you represent Africa’s future, you represent the future of the world,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield at the Young African Leaders Initiative 10th Anniversary Summit.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Africa’s economies were amongst the fastest growing in the world. As Africa works toward recovery from the pandemic, innovative thinking and good leadership are fundamental in ensuring that Africa continues to grow as an economic and democratic force for good.
Thomas-Greenfield explained Wednesday the importance of leading with compassion, integrity, and as a public servant. The most just and effective leaders seek first to serve rather than to be served.
In addition to relying on value-first leadership, the future of Africa is also dependent on the establishment of democratic institutions and promotion of democratic ideals. The open expression of ideas and exchange of information is a fundamental aspect of any successful democracy.
“As people express their voices and their votes, it also means building inclusive communities, it means building systems, it means building governments, it means building institutions that empower all people, but institutions that also empower women and girls,” said the ambassador.
As Africa moves toward a more democratic future, a country’s success should not be contingent on the power of one or two men but rather should rely on the people. “It’s time to replace strong men with strong institutions- institutions that will protect the powerless, stand up for human rights, and serve the people,” said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
“The challenges Africa faces are great. But Africa’s promise- thanks to young people like you- is far greater,” concluded the ambassador as she addressed the next generation of African leaders.