Too Many Coups. Not Enough Governance

The Republic of the Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa, faces yet another setback as it defaults on debt payments, compounding the problems caused by a recent coup. Despite the political upheaval, the country has struggled to meet its financial obligations, with defaults totaling $519 million since the July 2023 coup. Several coups have occurred in western Africa over the last four years, following decades of relatively stable governments. However, history appears to show that the military is no more effective at running a country than any “democratically elected” government. The social, political, and economic problems in the region highlight the need for a new approach to leadership.

John Maxwell taught us that everything rises and falls on leadership. This is a very simple yet profound truth. Many people crave political power, but not enough people develop the skills required to exercise transformative leadership once in power. In times of crisis, historical and contemporary examples can provide useful insights. Consider the biblical account of Nehemiah, who faced enormous challenges while rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls after years of neglect. Despite opposition and financial constraints, Nehemiah rallied the community, displaying leadership, resilience, and faith in overcoming adversity. Similarly, in modern times, nations like South Korea have risen from economic turmoil to become global leaders through strong governance and citizen engagement.

There are too many coup plotters and not enough people skilled enough to deliver visionary leadership and strong governance. As someone interested in watching over the world, are you merely seeking leadership positions, or are you developing the real-world skills required to carry out your mandate? Do your current roles and responsibilities have a positive impact on others? Because, in the end, everything is determined by the quality of available leaders. The long-term solution to the West African problem is education. Citizens must be properly educated about good governance. Illiteracy and ignorance are the root problems that must be addressed throughout West Africa.

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