Realising the Right to Development in Africa: Responsible, Responsive and Ethical Political Leadership as a Conditio Sine Qua Non

Author Avitus Agbor

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Research Professor at the School of Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Law, North-West University, North West, South Africa.
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 51 Issue 2, p. 215 – 233


At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the African continent showed very little progress in terms of surmounting its many challenges such as poverty, malnutrition, social injustices, underdevelopment and the plight of diseases and intractable internecine conflicts. The progress reports on the achievements of the African continent were abysmal. Despite the abundance of natural resources on which dynamic and energetic Africans tread their feet, the continent has not been able to move from one in which a good chunk of its people is mired in underdevelopment and injustices to prosperity and justice for everyone. International aid, just like bilateral and multilateral partnerships concluded and provided for the purpose of catapulting socio-economic, cultural and political development, have not yielded the desired results. The fundamental question is what lies between the wealth of the African people and their prosperity? In other words, what prevents Africa from moving from poverty to prosperity, despite its wealth of resources and the support provided by the international community? It is the view of this article that this is attributable to unethical, irresponsive and irresponsible political leadership that has come as a malediction to the continent. Drawing from scholarship on the notion of leadership as well as regional instruments on how political power should be guided in democratic settings, this article argues that ethical leadership becomes the panacea to the surmountable man-made crises plaguing the African continent. Leadership, as used in this context, is at all levels and not limited to the national executive. In short, the survival of Africa, the restoration of hope on the continent and the cultivation of a uniquely impressive African identity that portrays the continent as a benefactor rather than a beneficiary, a role player rather than having an allocated role, will be facilitated by responsive, responsible and ethical leadership.