The second semester of the 2015/2016 academic year began on a remarkably new and enriching way in the University of Ghana. Under the aegis of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the National Secretariat of Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG), the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation organized an elevating Leadership and Entrepreneurship Conference under the theme ‘AfricaAsia- A Corridor Worth Developing’ on Tuesday, 2nd February, 2016 at the Conference Room of the SRC Union Building. The main speaker for the programme, Mr. Jacky Mizele, a seasoned speaker on leadership and entrepreneurial skills in US and Asia and a Director of the Asia Public Sector Group (PSG), shared very practicable insights and principles worth applying in Africa.
Nathaniel Godfred Amoako, the Public Relations Officer of the University of Ghana Students’ Representative Council (UGSRC), served as the moderator for the summit. He opened the event by asking some very thought-provoking questions. One of such questions was what had accounted for the rapid turnaround in the fortunes of Asia as a continent. Diverse answers came from the audience including the ability to add value to their raw materials and an effectively working system of governance and leadership in the countries on the continent.
Dr. Baffour Agyemang-Dua, chairman of the JAK Foundation, introduced Mr. Mizele to interact with the audience present, which consisted of students of the University of Ghana from diverse levels and disciplines of study. Also present were the President of the UGSRC, Davis Ohene Fobi, and the President of GRASAG.
Mr. Mizele addressed his audience informally by sitting- the setting was thus relaxed. He began by adumbrating the pointers that he had observed to have contributed to the rapid change in the fortunes of Asia. He explained that China, for example, has been intentionally working to get to where it is now for centuries- it did not happen overnight.
He gave the first contributing factor as relationship management. He alluded that in Asia, everybody takes care of somebody. People are concerned about the plight of others. “Asia is all about relationships,” Mr. Mizele announced. He emphasized that loving one another is so important. He further explained that if a country is successful and its surrounding neighbours are not, that country will doubtless gradually collapse, because the other countries will come and take of the nation’s toil and increase.
Secondly, he pointed out that good governance was yet another contributing factor to the rapid change in the fortunes in Asia. He intimated that over in Asia, systems have been put in place which work.
After this first eye-opening discourse, Mr. Amoako gave opportunity to the audience to ask questions. Many had very penetrating questions for Mr. Mizele but he calmly answered them with precise and satisfying responses.
Jacky further elucidated on the subject of relationship management. He simply explained it as ‘keeping in touch’ and maintaining a relationship without selfishness. He cautioned attendees not to be afraid of rejection. He also noted that a good friend tells you the truth even when it hurts. Adding, he said that we should stay away from people who drag us down. Rather, we must associate with and be around people who help us move forward. One very important statement he made was that, “The speed of your success coming in depends on how long you stay down.”
On governance, Mr. Mizele spoke from the angle of students enjoying their period in the university. He admonished all present to endeavor to understand what is taught. He challenged his audience to challenge their lecturers/professors through quality research and study. Very importantly, Mr. Mizele urged participants to have a strategic mind for capturing moments. He explained further that windows of opportunity are not always open- we must notice them and take advantage of them. He said, “If you are observant in life, you will notice things that will enable you to move beyond every other person.”
He stressed the need for a very important ingredient in any endeavor: PASSION.
Finally, Mr. Mizele outlined three things that are lacking in Africa:
In his closing remarks, he asked a question for everyone to ponder: What legacy do you want to leave?