Merlin Linehan, Advice & analysis at frontiermarketstrategy.com and http://www.chinainafrica.co.uk
What is for you a sustainability leadership?
I would see this as leadership which recognises a person’s or company’s civic duties, most notably to uphold and promote human rights, protect and enhance the environment and to provide opportunities through employment to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Above all to realise that running a firm is not just about profit but must seek a wider and ultimately more important goal.
What are the pillars of a visionary leadership?
I believe the pillars of visionary leadership are: firstly having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and sticking to that vision, but also having a degree of flexibility to alter course if necessary or desirable. Secondly: a leader must be able to clearly articulate his or her vision through speech, words and of course above all actions. Thirdly: a visionary leader must inspire others to follow them in their vision and help them achieve it, great accomplishments are rarely made alone, so getting others to help build a vision is vital.
What are the main challenges that our world must face to look calmly at his future?
The main challenge facing the world is achieving a balance or harmony between a dynamic economy which allows enterprise and new ideas and companies to be promoted and flourish, but at the same time ensuring social justice and environmental protection. The world has huge numbers of people aspiring to US and European lifestyles, but at the same time we are facing growing inequality and environmental disaster. How we solve these problems is the central challenge of the world today and as governments are incapable or unable to provide many of the answers, it is left to individuals, companies and civil society to rise to the challenge.
Our website is to make it clear to European and American cultural vibrancy of the world that currently exists in many African countries: what do you think about this?
I think Africa Art Org. can only be a positive thing, I think understanding Africa through its many cultures can help Europeans and Americans move away from the colonial mindset that many people still perceive Africa through.
Do you think the international community has an optimal view of the potential for development in Africa?
I believe much of the world has a positive view of Africa and its potential for development and growth, most notably in India, South America and China. However many in the West prefer to see problems and dangers such as scare stories about Ebola, natural and human disasters. Of course Africa does have many problems and these should not be ignored, but too often we only see the negatives. However I think perceptions of Africa are slowly improving overall.