From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos
Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank Plc has announced plans to partner with 500 indigenously promoted African enterprises in a bid to make 50 of them globally competitive in the next five years.
Group Head, Strategy and Innovation, Sterling Bank, Mr. Shina Atilola who disclosed this while addressing participants at the African Ventures Programme hosted by the bank in Lagos recently explained that the Africa Venture Programme is an annual pan-African leadership event that brings together exceptional emerging leaders from government, businesses and non-profits across Africa.
Mr. Atilola added that the programme enables the transfer of knowledge, know-how and inspiration across generations and attracts some of the most inspiring leaders in the world today as participants.
“It creates a new generation of African leaders who have the cultural intelligence to work fluidly and flexibly across the continent, who have the analytical and creative skills to use diversity to spark innovation, and who have extraordinarily broad African networks,” he said.
Mr. Atilola stressed that Africa needs leadership in every sector of the economy and not only in government, adding that, “We need leaders that can see wider and deeper than others can see. We need leaders that are willing to take the risk. We need leaders that are willing to leave their comfort zones.
“Leadership is about service, not an entitlement. Leadership is about what you are willing to give and not what you are expecting to receive. Leadership is about denying yourself just because you want to achieve a greater purpose. It is not about solving your problems, but it is about solving other people’s problems.”
The group head noted that a leader must combine his concern for the greater good with an excellent in-depth understanding of how to run a business or how to create and deploy new technology. He reiterated that Africa needs leaders who can think broadly and who excel in teamwork and communication. “It is not about you (leader) but about us,” he said.
He emphasised that Africa needs leaders that are innovators and entrepreneurs in spirit and who must keep on trying until they get what they want. “A leader must conquer himself before he can aspire to conquer the world.”
Mr. Atilola said the African continent needs the voices of women and the poor while urging the two groups to inspire themselves in order to inspire the world.