Unlocking Africa’s Leadership Potential

Unlocking Africa’s Leadership Potential

Things change, the world of business is changing at a pace never seen before so organizations are actively seeking resourceful leaders who can adapt to changing circumstances, environments and embrace new ideas.

The global economy is also changing with Africa once a dark continent now referred to as a “giant with unparalleled growth prospects”. Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and by 2034, a larger working-age population than either China or India. Africa is predicted to outperform all other emerging economies with an expected GDP of 6 per cent per year and currently is experiencing accelerating technological change which is helping to unlock new opportunities for consumers and businesses.

Africa’s potential is undoubted, the question remains: who will lead the growth? The sorry state is we don’t have the leaders we need for succession now or in the future! The whole business world is in need of leaders and the current leadership pipeline is not effective.



It’s not that employees are not hard working but the capability of the management to identify the talent and distinguishing between high performers and high potential talent for leadership positions is very weak.

Studies suggest only 18% of high performers are high potentials which suggests that a lot of work is needed to uncover employee potential by assessing them through questioning their abilities, aspirations and engagements. To make it clear High performers are the guys who get things done and management always refer to them for difficult challenges and projects but they may struggle in a higher level ,meanwhile high potentials are the employees which have demonstrated high ability in their performance and show they can even have a bigger impact in the organization.

Employee’s talent classification could vary, an organization could have an employee as a high performer with high potential or low potential and also a low performer with high or low potential and in each case a different growth strategy is required. It will be easier for organizations to have all employees as high performance and high potentials but that possibility is very rare and making matters worse organizations require such individuals to promote them in leadership positions.

So how do we identify high potential individuals to drive the African dream forward? Assessing their ability, engagement and aspiration could really help pinpoint the right candidates. The following questions can help managers assess their employees


After identifying the employees then the growth pattern for each employee will be based on the classification. In cases where you have an employee as a high performers and high potential you can promote them and give them more freedom to take responsibilities, while high performance but low potential employees can have constant encouragement and training on leadership practices, then low performance but high potential can be paired with a seasoned high performer to polish his performance skills and encouraged to develop his capabilities and finally low performance with low potential can be terminated as most organization consider it costly to improve their performance or have them around.

Managers need to be given freedom and all the support to identify talent and build the skills of future leader’s failure to which it can lead to serious business problems. It’s a big problem but its one that can be fixed with the correct tools!




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Yassir Al Ammar
Yassir Al Ammar 6 posts

Yassir Al Ammar is a Management and IT Consultant from Mombasa, Kenya.He is also an Author, Speaker and Trainer in the fields of Business, Management & IT. He can be contacted at yassir@yascomafrica.com

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