The leadership factor in emerging Africa: biographical patterns

DLP’s African Heads of States Database enabled researchers to explore the similarities and differences between the backgrounds of a range of leaders, past and present. Could certain aspects of early experience make it more likely that an individual would become one of the continent’s successful developmental leaders?  

This project draws on the database and on Stephen Radelet’s well-received study Emerging Africa: how 17 countries are leading the way. The project compares heads of state from what Radelet categorises as emerging and non-emerging countries. It examines their level of education, fields of study, age, career history and political backgrounds. It finds that the heads of state in 'emerging countries' have, in general, a higher level of education, are more mature, and have a different and more diverse career history. They also have less military experience than the leaders of 'non-emerging' countries.


Researcher: Monique Theron

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

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