2009 Tutu Fellow James Mwangi has penned a thought piece on insights and lessons that can be gained from the COVID-19 pandemic. James, the Executive Director of the Dalberg Group, and a Partner with Dalberg Advisors, cautions that while “COVID-19 is the defining socio-economic and geo-political event of our lives to date – it may not be the last major disruption.”  Existential issues such as climate change can be informed by lessons from the pandemic.

In his piece, he emphasises the importance of both action and reflection. He points to the social fault lines the pandemic has exposed and warns that the existential issues of climate change and profound inequality—and their explosive nexus—remain ahead of us. It holds the promise, he says, that if ignored, of disruptions that will dwarf the current catastrophe. James went on to say that for decades the humanity has been surpassing societal and ecological limits. "It is possible that we will look back on this time as the beginning of a new era of massive global challenges."  In navigating COVID-19, James said that countries can build the tools and approaches that will be critical to handling what is to come.  He said that the foresighted and capacity-orientated Dalberg approach had been critical in assisting clients in handling the "new normal” that the pandemic presented.  James reflected on “the immediate danger posed by unreflective and thoughtless leadership." "We’ve felt intimately the degree to which we are all dependent upon each other,” he said.

James spells out a number of insights that COVID-19 is forcing upon the world and on societies that till now have not had to face the difficulties brought about by a global challenge impacting countries everywhere and forcing disruptions to the social order, economics, distribution chains, expertise, and other taken-for-granted mechanisms.

The Dalberg Group provides consulting and other services to champion inclusive and sustainable growth around the world. James' clients range from heads of state to senior leaders of multilateral organizations and foundations.

The full piece is available at the Dalberg website.

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About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.