Home / News / Africa / Sub-Sahara Africa requires competent leadership for development, says Sola David-Borha, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank
Sola David-Borha, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC

Sub-Sahara Africa requires competent leadership for development, says Sola David-Borha, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank

Mrs. Sola David-Borha, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank
Sola David-Borha, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Oct. 25, 2022

A Nigerian banker and the Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Mrs. Sola David-Borha says Sub Sahara Africa (SSA) requires competent leadership in critical decision-making positions to achieve growth and sustainable development.

David-Borha, who was Chief Executive for Africa Regions in the Standard Bank Group, responsible for the Group’s 19 markets in Africa outside South Africa from 2017 to 2021, said this while delivering a paper on “Africa’s Economy: The Way Forward’’ at the Global Patriot Newspapers International Conference at Newark, New Jersey, United States of America (USA).

According to the Bank boss, Sub Sahara Africa (SSA) requires competent leadership to translate industrial policies and regional agreements, among others, to desired growth and sustainable development.

David-Borha, who spoke virtually at the Conference, said SSA required competent leadership in critical decision-making positions as the quality of decision-making is a major determinant of policy design and economic outcomes.

“In addition, leaders in all spheres of influence – politics, business, civil society, education, the arts, music and religion also have a part to play in embracing the Rule of Law and supporting effective policies,’’ she said.

David-Borha, who is also a Non-Executive Director of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and Stanbic Uganda Holdings Limited, said that there was no one size fits all solution to increase productive organisational capacities as each country in the continent is different.

“The challenge is designing the appropriate mix of policies, that fit the local environment, and implementing it in the right sequence, that will lead to the development of productive organisational capabilities.

“Rather than a ‘Big Bang’ strategy that tries to ‘boil the ocean’ it is more practical and effective for SSA to pursue a sector-by-sector approach as this reduces the risk of failure,’’ she said.

David-Borha said in a departure from earlier failed industrial policy attempts, the focus must be on ensuring that policies were designed with an attractive enough prize (or return).

“They must be adequately monitored for performance with sanctions for non-performance.

“This will ensure that African businesses and the companies providing the technology transfer and building the organisational capabilities both have a vested interest in achieving the desired outcome within a defined period,’’ she said.

Citing the example of the success of the mobile telecommunications (telecoms) sector in SSA with its multiplier effect on financial services, she said fintech’s, internet access and subscription levels increased from 83 per 100 in 2020, according to World Bank data.

The top banker, however, said that it could be argued that telecoms was a relatively simple technology, and that the growth achieved was by ‘learning by doing’ over two decades.

“This success must be replicated in other priority sectors such as electricity and the agricultural value chain with a greater emphasis on technology transfer.

“For SSA to fully benefit from the opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) we need to increase the number of productive organisations across the continent that can trade with each other,’’ she said.

David-Borha, concluded by describing development as a marathon and not a sprint.

“It is a commitment by policy makers and key stakeholders to build productive organisational capabilities that can be replicated and improve the region’s competitiveness.

“Ultimately the discourse is about inclusive development.

“Policies must be designed to ensure that SSA progresses further towards formalising large proportions of its economy so that the benefits of growth can be distributed in a transparent, effective, and sustainable manner,’’ she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Global Patriot Newspapers, Mr. Simon Ibe, has been in active journalism for over 38 years.

He left Print Journalism as Chairman Editorial Board and General Manager Publications of Champion Newspapers Ltd, Lagos.

He was also, at different times, Group Political Editor, Opinion and Editorial Page Editor and Features Editor of Champion Newspapers.

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