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Service - Leadership in Government - Issue 77

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  • Service delivery
  • South africa
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September is a time of renewal. In this edition of Service, we look at what is about to be renewed, in the process of being renewed, and in need of renewal in South Africa.

S development MIND THE

S development MIND THE GAP For Africa to attain levels of economic growth that uplift its populations, a much higher integration between nations, regions and the continent is needed. MINDS was established to rekindle the spirit of African solidarity and to evolve perceptions of Africa within the global context. Service spoke to the institute’s founder, Dr Nkosana Moyo. Dr Moyo, please tell us more about the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS). MINDS is a Pan African think tank conceived to fill a perceived gap in exploring the reasons underlying Africa’s apparent failure to finding solutions to its development challenges. The platform is used to convene Africans of all persuasions to take part in dialogues based on research and come up with proposals to improve policy formulation and implementation. The key element in the MINDS philosophy is that while Africans should be open to learning from other continents’ experiences, there should be a clarity that learning is not the same as copying and pasting. The pillars of MINDS’ operations are a) Africanness b) the youth and c) economic integration. We believe the youth should use their demographic superiority to determine the relationships with the rest of the populations of the continent. We, at MINDS, hypothesise that unless Africa bases its development efforts on the traits of Africanness, its efforts will be in vain. Just as modern Japan is different from modern France or Germany and these are different from modern USA and the United Kingdom, Africa has to base its modernity on its idiosyncrasies rather than on copying other people. Given the demographics of the African continent, we at MINDS believe there can be no version of the future that is not fundamentally and intimately grounded on the youth of the continent. The twist in the MINDS approach, however, is that we do not take the view that the current system should create room for the youth. We believe the youth should use their demographic superiority to determine the relationships with the rest of the populations of the continent. They, the youth, should take responsibility for creating the future that they would like to see, a future that will work for them. We think the imperative for economic integration of the continent is a self-evident issue. No matter the challenges of globalisation, economies of scale based on comparative advantage matter. It must follow, then, that an integrated African economy that offers significant economies of scale is a sine qua non of any offering that can deliver real prospects for the continent’s development. Please provide an overview of your thoughts on how Africa can emerge stronger after the coronavirus pandemic. For those of us with curious minds, the Covid experience has been very instructive. Quite a few lessons are there for the world, and Africa specifically, if we are open to learning. It has been a lesson in the adage that need is the mother of invention. There are also specific opportunities that have become available if one believes there is no cloud without a silver lining or that when one door closes another one will open. The challenges around supplies for dealing with Covid-19, arising out of the global over-concentration of manufacturing in China has been a reminder of some basics in risk management. We have all heard about not putting all your eggs in one basket. Africa has an opportunity to offer itself up as an additional basket in the creation of a better structured distribution of global facilities in the value chain of manufacturing. “It is my hope that the Mandela institute for Development Studies (MINDS) will make a real difference in the resolution of the challenges that confront Africa through a vibrant and robust debate, interrogating current paradigms, and offering new approaches.” – Former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 22 | Service magazine

development S The realisation of this opportunity, however, depends, as one might expect, on Africa doing a few things to make itself fit for purpose. The necessary and appropriate infrastructure would have to be put in place. A better integrated African economy would have to be made a reality, rather than just being spoken about. The integrated economy would offer better economies of scale at the “domestic” market level and hence create a platform for global supply at scale. Excellence by Africans in the African space is a critical component of imbuing the youth with confidence in themselves. Additionally, Africa would have to better understand how to manage prices through competition rather than through legislation. The continent would also have to get comfortable with hosting rather than owning investments. These two perspectives on investment would produce an environment much more likely to attract global private capital, which currently has truly little opportunity for attractive returns, especially in the more industrialised countries. Given the heavy Covid-related expenditures in these economies, the policymakers are unlikely to move interest rates upwards anytime soon. This creates a window of opportunity for Africa to offer more competitive investment opportunities even after factoring in the inevitable risk premiums. You have said before: “Let us not perpetuate the lack of belief in self for our children through poor performance. Rather let us create the environment for pride and belief in self through setting high standards of service delivery by all those we put in positions of responsibility.” Please elaborate on this. Belief in self, or confidence, results from acknowledged achievement. This achievement can be a personal, team, societal or country achievement. When one sees success by those one identifies with, it is easy to see why this would normally lead to a belief that one can also be an achiever. In other words, role modelling is easier in these circumstances. The other characteristic of achievement is that it creates pride in, and identification with, the achiever. This can be observed in sports. When a country’s sports individuals or teams do well, the population has pride and appropriates the achievement. Africa’s less than acceptable performance in the management of its affairs is a big hindrance to our youth really believing in themselves. If their lived reality is that most, if not all, aspects of their experiences of African institutions are unpleasant and suggestive of underperformance, then we cannot BIOGRAPHY Dr Nkosana Moyo, a national of Zimbabwe, founded MINDS in 2010. He holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, University of London, and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, UK. Dr Moyo served as an advisory board member of the London Business School as well as the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Until August 2011, Dr Moyo was the vice president and chief operating officer of African Development Bank (AfDB). Before joining AfDB, he worked at Actis Capital LLP as managing partner for the African business and served on the boards of several companies. Dr Moyo was the Minister of Industry and International Trade of Zimbabwe in 2000. He was the co-chair of the World Economic Forum African Regional Agenda Council, was a founding trustee of the Investment Climate Facility and is on the Board of the Africa Leadership Institute. expect them to get positive energy from that. It is important for us to understand that excellence by Africans in the African space is a critical component of imbuing the youth with confidence in themselves. Africa is losing its competent human capital to other societies because we are not seen as celebrating and rewarding merit. S Service magazine | 23

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