Lack of leadership in Africa: Ibrahim

18 August 2013 - 11:29 By Sapa

Africa has a serious deficit in leadership, philanthropist Mo Ibrahim said.

South Africa needed to step up and play a better role in the continent, he said on Saturday.

"Leadership is not about bossing people is not about securing a seat in the UN Security Council on behalf of Africa, or chairing the African Union," he said.

"Leadership is true engagement with Africa. You [South Africa] have a role to play."

Problems such as climate change, transparency, tax evasion and illicit transfers of funds needed the serious voice of leadership.

Ibrahim was delivering the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Pretoria.

He said women and youth were an important part of social cohesion.

Seventy percent of the population depended on women because they were in charge of the agriculture.

"Women play very important roles but they are denied the dignity they deserve in our society," he said.

"Rape is widespread in Africa, and that is not acceptable. We cannot afford to lose what is vital for our society."

Ibrahim said that half of the continent's population was below the age of 19, and that African youth could become the best in the future in terms of production.

This was because the population of countries such as China and many European countries were ageing.

"But to do that, we need good education and training to equip these youngsters for the future. Through that, Africa can become the future factory of the world."