CSDA




Thought Leadership: Ideas, Insights, Inspiration



CSDA Thought Leaders consist of scholars, scientists, educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and artists working on complex and vexing issues critical to Africa’s development. They provide thought-provoking, visionary and game-changing ideas that can stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship to propel Africa into the 21st century.

As a source of inspiration, motivation and encouragement for you to take action and help shape Africa’s sustainable future, we invite you to play the slide show.




“Not any amount of aid is going to move Africa forward. The only way for us to move forward is to ensure good governance” - Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chairman of Mo Ibrahim Foundation

"Ultimately I believe Africans should make up their own minds about what serves African interests." - Barack Obama, 44th and current President of the United States

“No liberated mind can think their development agenda can only be funded by donors. … We should be more self-reliant.” - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson African Union and former South Africa's Minister of Health.

“I believe in the power of African women. We should not wait for the (UN) resolutions to do anything for us … we have to make them work for us.” - Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Laureate

“We should never underestimate the power of role models. When teenagers see high achievers who look like them, who have reached the top in law, business, politics, they’re going to think, ‘I can do that; I can go far too.” - Tidjane Thiam, Ivorian businessman, Chief Executive of Prudential plc

“Private capital, mobilised through infrastructure bonds, can provide financing for an economic transformation of Africa.” - Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank

“This is our world. And every movement that ever led to any change in this ever-evolving civilization grew like a seed from one person’s imagination.” - Jan Philips, Visionary thought leader and author of “The Art of Original Thinking"

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create." - Barack Obama, 44th and current President of the United States

“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” - Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States

“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” - Plato

“This is our world. And every movement that ever led to any change in this ever-evolving civilization grew like a seed from one person’s imagination.” - Jan Philips, Visionary thought leader and author of “The Art of Original Thinking"

“The images on which we feed govern our lives.” - Marion Woodman, Canadian Mythopoetic

“Getting new ideas to transform Africa is the easy part, getting rid of those old ideas holding back Africa that is the greatest challenge.” - Anonymous

“What is faith worth if it is not translated into action?” - Mahatma Ghandi

“For now own, if we are to have any future, we must create that future ourselves.” - Beatrice Bruteau, Philosopher and founder of Schola Contemplatonis

“Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal but which the reader recognizes his own.” - Noble Prize winner Salvatore Quasimodo

“The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems which cannot be solved by the same level by the same level of thinking in which they were created.” - Albert Einstein

“It is the absence of broad-based business activity, not its presence that condemns much of humanity to suffering. Indeed, what is utopian is the notion that poverty can be overcome without the active engagement of business.” - Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations

“Our imaginations are the most potent engines of change in the universe.” - Jan Philips, Visionary thought leader and author of “The Art of Original Thinking"

“Many of the most important social challenges facing the world today require radical innovation that cuts across organizational, sectoral and disciplinary boundaries.” - Kevin Chika Urama is an Environmental and Ecological Economist & Ernest Nti Acheampong, Research officer at African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS).

“As Africans, we must think with our hearts, but also with our heads in order to bring back the confidence and the can do spirit … If we can get that right, as one billion people with a common destiny, we will be bigger than China.” - Frannie Leautier, Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, former Vice President of the World Bank and Head of the World Bank Institute from December 2001 to March 2007.

“The image of the future is no longer a static one; it changes dynamically in proportion to our attempts to imagine and conceive the future.” - Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council and Professor emeritus of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich

“To accomplish the extraordinary, you must seek extraordinary people.” - Anonymous

“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct results of his own thoughts.” - James Allen, British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry

“The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust, French novelist, critic, and essayist

“Change is not merely necessary to life – change is life.” - Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist, Toffler is a former associate editor of Fortune magazine

“So with imagination, ingenuity, and audacity, explore, discover and change the world.” - Daniel S. Goldin, 9th and longest-tenured Administrator of NASA from April 1, 1992, to November 17, 2001

“No man can prove upon awakening that he is the man who he thinks went to sleep the night before, or that anything that he recollects is anything other than a convincing dream.” - R. Buckminster Fuller, American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not?" - George Bernard Shaw, - Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics

“The time is always right to do what is right.” - Martin Luther King

“Africa is one of the most youthful continents in the world, and growing younger every day. Capturing the African market opportunities means understanding and appealing to African youth.” - Vijay Mahajan, Indian social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group

“For Africa to me... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” - Maya Angelou

“Giving to education is a sustainable investment . . . . An educated person will earn more; contribute to society economically and socially; and pass on economic, social, educational and health-related benefits to their children.” - Xanthe Ackerman, Associate Director & Associate fellow at the Center for Universal Education, and Rebecca Winthrop, Director, Center for Universal Education & Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development.

“It’s the first time that innovations from Africa are going to other parts of the world. It’s changing the traditional story about the continent and demonstrating that Africa can be the source of groundbreaking innovations. This is a genuine reversal of the usual narrative.” - Bright Simons, Ghanaian social innovator, entrepreneur, writer, and a researcher affiliated withwell-known 'think tank' in Ghana, called IMANI.

“I’m learning something all the time.” - David Adjaye, British Architect

“Throughout human history we have learned to overcome scarcity and adversity through the application of innovation – the only resource that is expanded, not depleted, the more we use it." - Ramez Naam, Professional Technologist and Futurist

“Everything you are and do is determined by your thoughts.” - James Maxwell, Scottish mathematical Physicist

“As Africans, we need to share common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent.” - Thabo Mbeki, Former President, Republic of South Africa, 1999 to 2008

“People who value their privileges above their principles soon lose both.” – Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, 1953 to 1961

“Progress comes from thinking, articulating, discussing, debating and executing ideas in an environment of pluralism.” - N. R. Narayana Murthy, Indian IT industrialist and the co-founder of Infosys

“For any prospect of a bright and hopeful future, we need many intelligent minds to be focused and hard at work.” - Michael E. Martinez, was a Professor of Education and the former Vice Chair of the Department of Education, University of California, Irvine

“Being innovative is central to being human.” - Joost Bonsen, co-founder of the MIT Innovation Club, TechLink

“Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” – Barack Obama, 44th and current President of the United States

“If you wait too long for the perfect moment, the perfect moment will pass you by.” — Confucious

“In life, as in chess, forethought wins.” — Charles Buxton, Philanthropist and Writer

“Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions.” - Peter Senge, American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning, MIT Sloan School of Management

"Human minds are the root source of new ideas, for the betterment of both themselves and others.” – Ramez Naam, Professional Technologist and Futurist

“Throughout human history we have learned to overcome scarcity and adversity through the application of innovation – the only resource that is expanded, not depleted, the more we use it." - Ramez Naam, Professional Technologist and Futurist

“What we think, we become.” - Anonymous

“Try not to be a man of success, but rather try to become a many of value.” – Albert Einstein

“A man is what he thinks all day long.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Lecturer, and Poet

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” - Derek Bok, Former president of Harvard University

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” - Dr. Napoleon Hill, American author in the area of the new thought movement, advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt



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