Leadership Transformation for Development Effectiveness in Africa


The Enablers and Disablers of Leadership for Transformational Change in Africa is a report that outlines the methodology and results of a Pilot Study conducted in Tanzania by the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL) in partnership with the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (Uongozi Institute). The report starts from the perspective that most research on leadership in Africa to date originates not from African Academics but from outside the continent. Thus many inspiring stories of African leadership have not made it into academic journals, let alone to wider audiences across the continent –  despite the fact that Africa is endowed not only with an abundance of natural resources, but also with indigenous knowledge on leadership, which is generally unexplored. The Pilot Study marks a first step by the ALCRL to fill this gap by conducting empirical research, adding to the body of knowledge and ultimately building a solid base of evidence related to leadership in Africa. 

The primary objective of the pilot project was to finalise a research methodology that can be replicated in an academically responsible manner across the continent. Secondary objectives were to a) provide an overview of emerging results on transformational change and some enabling and disabling factors for leadership and 2) create time to cement relationships with potential partners that will assist in the dissemination and application of results, most notably NEPAD Agency and UNDP. The report outlines a defined methodology, provides the results of a literature overview of the main themes of African leadership, a concept described as “nebulous and complicated,” and identifies four broad themes: leadership and development, expressions of African leadership, leadership and gender and connections between leadership and some significant notions.

The research methodology was tested and refined by application to case studies of transformational change in Tanzania as a basis to identify enablers and disablers of leadership. The cases were Road Infrastructure Development; Women and Political Decision-making; HIV/AIDS awareness. The data gathered established preliminary conclusions regarding emerging enablers and disablers of leadership for transformational change in Tanzania.

The report concludes that the operationalised definition of a leader can refer to a person who brings about change a) in his/her personal capacity; b) as a representative of an institution; or c) as a participant in a collective – i.e. as individual, institutional or collective expressions of leadership.  Each of the transformational changes documented in the report was the result of the interaction between all three these dimensions of leadership. 

What has been done to date only begins homegrown research to help define leadership for Africa. Please give your comments on the future of African leadership that you are envisioned.


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