Former President Mogae Inspires over 5,000 Scholars on Leadership

Nairobi, 23rd August, 2012 . . . Former President of Botswana His Excellency Festus Mogae has told Kenyan scholars to adopt leadership attributes that will prepare them for leadership in Kenya and Africa in the future. The former president, who is also a member of The MasterCard Foundation Board told over 5,000 scholars attending the 3rd Annual Education and Leadership Congress that they are being trained for future leadership of this country, Africa and the world. “You must work hard towards achievement of your goals. Whatever you choose to be you have to consistently work hard and be clear in your mind”, he said.

In the keynote speech at the close of the congress Mogae told the scholars that as aspiring leaders they must intend to achieve an objective. “Have courage and practice what you believe in even if you are ridiculed,” he said.

Mogae, who was accompanied by the President & CEO of The MasterCard Foundation Reeta Roy said that he could relate with most of the scholars’ backgrounds, as he too grew up in a needy household. “I studied on bursaries right through university and I had to work during my holidays to earn money,” he shared.

He reminded the students that the future was brimful of hope and with patience and self-application; the students could succeed in any chosen field in life.  “I expect you to work hard despite the challenges you maybe facing at home. You have already achieved, having been selected for this scholarship. Through hard work, you will continue to achieve, and lead to the development of your country and Africa.”

Mogae illustrated how African countries’ economies suffered in the hands of leaders who overstayed their welcome in the 1980s loosing vision of the continent and misappropriating resources. “During the 1980s African economies performed poorly. We retrogressed in what is regarded as the lost decade,” he said, adding that things have changed proving that more can be achieved through better leadership. “Today African countries are registering positive growth and seven of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. On the political front there are more democratically elected leaders.” Mogae said.

The former president, who led Botswana from 1998 up to his retirement in 2008, is revered on the continent for his leadership and economic policy that spurred the southern Africa nation to dramatic economic growth and prosperity enabling his government to offer free education in primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

He said that for a continent that had faced the brunt of AIDS and plunder, a new approach in leadership, management of the vast resources in Africa and astute leadership was needed to usher in an era of social and economic prosperity.

“You are being educated because you are the future leaders, not only of Kenya but of Africa”, he said.

As global citizens, the students were advised to adopt a flexible mindset and shun vices such as bigotry and intolerance.

H.E Mogae added that leadership called for integrity. “It is not bad to acquire money, but it is not the end of everything. Compassion enables you to put yourself in the place of others. That is one of the most discernible attributes in a leader.”

After his presentation, the former President celebrated his 73rd birthday and was serenaded with song with the entire amphitheater joining him to mark the day.

In additional to humanitarian work, Festus Mogae now serves as a Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change.

The Former President was also accompanied by the Chairman of Equity Bank Mr Peter Munga and the CEO of Equity Bank Dr. James Mwangi. In a recap to the presentations over the 10 days congress period, Equity Group Chairman Dr. James Mwangi implored the scholars to heed the words of wisdom shared by the select presenters. “Strive to exploit your potential. When you are between 30 and 40 years old Kenya will have transformed. Move on to become the leaders we are preparing you to be and together we shall walk to liberate Africa”.


About the 3rd Annual Education and Leadership Congress

The Annual Education and Leadership Congress is the highlight of the leadership, mentoring and social transformation programs run by Equity Group Foundation (EGF) in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and support from USAID and UKAID which seeks to develop the next generation of transformational leaders.

The congress brings together scholars drawn from both the Wings to Fly and the Equity University Sponsorship programs, and seeks to nurture leadership skills and create a global mindset in the scholars, by exposing them to mentoring opportunities from outstanding role models from the academia, the public service, entrepreneurship, non-profits, and influential captains of industry amongst others.

The 3rd Annual Education and Leadership Congress focused on globalization and took place from August 13th - 23rd August 2012 at the Kenyatta University. The theme was Developing a Global Edge. Through plenary sessions, panel discussions, workshops and focus group discussions, the congress is explored the implications of an increasingly globalized world, highlighting solutions to global challenges and ways through which emerging leaders can enhance their competitiveness within the global context. 

Approximately 5,000 scholars who include Wings to Fly scholars and Equity Bank university sponsorship beneficiaries and alumni attended the congress.

About The Wings to Fly Program

The MasterCard Foundation and Equity Group Foundation’s Wings To Fly Scholarship Program, with support from UKAID and USAID, is a groundbreaking Ksh6 billion partnership that enables young people to access and complete secondary school and improve their prospects of accessing higher education. The program targets students transitioning from primary school to secondary school. This initiative provides comprehensive secondary school education and leadership training targeting 10,000 academically gifted yet economically disadvantaged young Kenyans.

The scholarships cover tuition, books, uniforms, boarding, transport and stipends for students who are academically gifted yet economically disadvantaged, enabling them to complete their secondary education. In addition to a focus on academic excellence and achievement, the program provides mentoring and leadership development to help students succeed in secondary school and beyond.  

About The Equity Bank University Sponsorship and Leadership Program

The Equity Bank University Sponsorship and Leadership Program is supported by Equity Bank Group through the Equity Group Foundation. The program benefits the top performing boy and girl in the high school leaving/university entrance exams in Kenya in every district where the bank operates.

The Bank rolled out this program in 1998 with the aim of empowering young academically gifted scholars by supporting their access to education in public universities in Kenya as well as equipping them with leadership skills. The idea being to develop a generation that will think globally be inspired to fight poverty in the African continent, embrace sustainable development, improve living standards and coexist peacefully as a people while being fully committed to giving back to society.

Since 1998 to date, over 1, 290 university students and alumni have gone through the program. Those who have joined employment hold great career promise in their various pursuits.  In cognizance that these are Kenya’s best scholars, and in recognition that the country is still in the process of developing quality teaching facilities at the higher level, the program has encouraged our scholars to also seek admission to some of the best universities in the world.  65 of the beneficiaries are currently pursuing education in these world leading universities among them Harvard, Yale, MIT and Seoul University.