Report: Women’s Transformative Leadership in Africa

As part of an effort to examine what transformative leadership could mean to the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, we commissioned an environmental scan of recent literature, existing programs and exemplary female leaders on the continent.

Women’s Transformative Leadership in Africa provides a summary of key findings from this scan, and articulates our thinking around transformative leadership and what programs need to support to further the development of female leaders in Africa.

The report found:

  • Formal education is an important component of leadership development but is not sufficient to spur social transformation.
  • Talented young people have great potential to become transformative leaders yet few programs exist to develop their leadership capacity.
  • Women in Africa face particularly high barriers to becoming leaders.
  • Leadership programs on the continent share common features including an emphasis on skills such as public speaking, organizational change, technical skills, mentorship, networking and service learning.
  • Few programs cater to youth and women and few cover ethics, values and/or self-awareness explicitly.
  • Leadership is seen as an important skill for employability.
  • More opportunities to develop women’s transformative leadership are needed.

The report also makes several key recommendations, including:

  • Programs need to focus more on youth and women.
  • Components like global awareness and ethics should be incorporated into programs.
  • Leadership programs should confer credentials with certificates or other formal recognition.
  • Knowledge gaps related to metrics, best practices and impact need to be addressed.
  • Transformative leadership should be explicitly addressed in global policy discussions on education and the sustainable development goals.

Download the report.