Innovativeness, Transformational Leadership Vital to Economic Development in the Global South – Chair, DIaDeRC

Lending his voice to the ongoing conversation globally on priming the Global South for catch-up with its Western counterparts, DIaDeRC Chair, Prof Evans Osabuohien was privileged to virtually deliver a keynote speech at the Annual International conference on Harmony in Innovation held in India on 3rd to 5th April 2024. The event was hosted by Dr. D. Y. Patil B-School, Pune, in collaboration with renowned academic institutions such as EMAA Business School, Morocco, The Centre of Economic Diplomacy, Croatia, Europe, Dr. Soetomo University, Indonesia, Boston International College, Nepal, Jansons School of Business, Coimbatore, India, Association of Indian Management Schools, India, and Center for Education Growth & Research, India.

It was an opportunity for scholars, faculty, and industry professionals from prestigious business schools in India to deliberate on the potential of innovation and leadership in promoting economic development in the Global South. Prof Osabuohien delivered a presentation on “Navigating Economic Complexities in the Global South: Roles of Innovation and Transformational Leadership”.

Delivering the speech on April 5, Prof Osabuohien began by sharing insights on the definitions of innovation and leadership in the context of the Global South. Presenting from a 15-paged slide deck, the DIaDeRC Chair engaged his audience by drawing practical case studies that exemplify innovation in the Global South. One of this is the M-Pesa, a mobile money application originating from Kenya; another is Thrive Agric from Nigeria – a platform building a network of profitable African farmers.  Innovation can be multifaceted, according to him.  In the case of Kenya, the M-Pesa was a revolutionary financial innovation. While pointing this out, he emphasized the need for swift uptake of other kinds of innovation (financial, medical, agricultural – such as farm automation laser scarecrows, etc., and whatnot) across the Global South.

Following that, he discussed ‘transformative leadership’, drawing insights from its relevance in promoting economic development. In his earlier fashion, Prof Osabuohien cited iconic names who have shaped the leadership and governance landscape in the Global South since self-government. Some of them include Mahatma Ghandi of India, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Patrick Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria.

Moving forward, the Professor of Economics dished out nuggets for integrating innovation and leadership in the Global South. Some of these points featured supporting social innovation and inclusive growth; investing in the youth; building an entrepreneur ecosystem; investing in education and skill development; building infrastructure for innovation and leadership and embracing emerging technologies.

Rounding off his speech, Prof Evans shared personal experiences that reflected this nexus, drawing from experience in Germany, India’s recent ‘r2T’ IT Revolution, and Rwanda’s innovation. All these case studies made it easy for the audience to relate with these concepts and take up the conversation further for policy influencing. Professor Osabuohien concluded his keynote speech by emphasizing the points from the presentation, while reiterating the relevance of vision and goal setting in materializing these initiatives.

Overall, the opportunity to share these insights at the conference in India is a testament to DIaDeRC’s commitment to transforming lives through knowledge.

The presentation slide is FREELY available Online.

A related presentation (titled ‘Transformational Leadership for Africa’s Quality Higher Education in a Post-COVID-19 World’) was made some months ago in another forum that he builds on and is also FREELY Available via this LINK .


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