When the 2016 Tutu Fellows convened for their first workshop at Mont Fleur in April, they were asked, for their Group project, to develop scenarios of the future of Africa, but were given 3 different global scenario frameworks within which Africa’s future should be considered. Their preferred scenario - both globally and in Africa - was one based on “Sustainable Transitions” – a world where global action is agreed and transnational issues implemented to secure global sustainability.
The “World of Me”, an extension of today’s global environment was seen to be unsustainable in the longer term, whilst “Discordant Planet”, with global political and religious tensions, protectionist economic policies, nationalist tendencies, and disruption of the current order, was seen to be least likely and least desirable from an African perspective.
How things have changed in the few months since the Mont Fleur workshop. As we approach this festive season we are entering a new global order in 2017, which will challenge those with well-established ways, but will create new opportunities for the agile. This highlights not only the importance in leadership of recognising the uncertainty of the future, but in today’s fast changing world – politically, economically and technically – how important it is to have nimble flexible leadership, and the ability to unlearn and relearn ways of doing things.
Sadly in Africa, for many political leaders the status quo is their security; leading by looking in the rear-view mirror is their legitimacy; and leaders in both the public and private sectors resist change which may endanger lucrative relationships. In the coming years, the endemic greed of the "World of Me" will be channelled by the new discordant order, but the changing playing field should create exciting new opportunities for dynamic, nimble young leaders to shape not only their own destinies, but also those of the people around them. Innovation, entrepreneurship and recognising the opportunities in the changing dynamics will be key.
Thus my festive message to the Tutu Fellows and other young leaders across Africa is one of opportunity – change is in the air across the world, and even if it could be discordant and disruptive, opportunities will be there for the nimble African leader to do things differently for a better outcome not only for themselves, but many others around them and for a better Africa.
I offer you my very best wishes for a happy and restful holiday season, and a chance to reflect upon the opportunities that 2017 may bring.