2024 Leadership Lecture: Lord Boateng urges African leaders to end dependency on foreign aid

A member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, Lord Paul Yaw Boateng, has called on African political leaders to break free from the cycle of dependency on external aid and forge a path towards economic prosperity.

He stressed that foreign aid often comes with strings attached, which can undermine national sovereignty and stifle local economic initiatives and growth.

He therefore called for a paradigm shift where African nations harness their resources, foster homegrown solutions, and cultivate a culture of self-reliance.

“We are held down in an impoverished and conflicted posture by our dependence on external aid and the great powers,” Lord Boateng said.

“Break the vicious cycle of dependence on external aid. Who here does not remember that moment when His Excellency the President [Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo] stood next to the president of France [Emmanuel] Macron and went viral, making the point about the need for us to cease relying on external aid if we are to break that vicious cycle of dependence on external aid and those great powers who have fed and continue to feed on Africa’s resources?”

Lord Paul Boateng delivering a lecture to a packed audience at the Kofi Ohene-Konadu Auditorium.


Lord Boateng sounded the clarion call at the 2024 Annual Leadership Lecture series organised by the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on Tuesday, June 18.

Speaking on the theme ‘Fulfilling the Promise – The Challenge of Leadership: Moving from Rhetoric to Delivery,’ Lord Boateng emphasised the critical role of higher education and effective leadership in achieving the goal of self-sufficiency and sustainable development.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other, so institutions of higher education like UPSA have a critical role to play in producing and shaping leaders and informing the actions of leadership, not least in the delivery of evidence-based policy.”

Some senior faculty members at the leadership lecture.


Lord Boateng urged African leaders to take proactive steps to address the challenges they face and to inspire a renewed sense of pride and self-reliance among their people.

“Leadership must be at the heart of our response,” he reiterated, emphasising the critical role of effective and visionary leadership in transforming the continent’s future.

The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Prof. Abednego F. O. Amartey, in underscoring the importance of the leadership lecture, said it provides an intellectual platform for distinguished speakers across the globe to critically examine and discuss important global and national issues pertinent to society and proffer solutions for Ghana’s sustainable development.

The Vice-Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Abednego Okoe Amartey delivering his welcome address at the leadership lecture.


“Year after year, the leadership series has been a useful and impactful platform with positive lessons and insights that have been laid for total reflection,” Prof Amartey stated.

“In a world inundated with promises, pledges, visions, and aspirations, the journey from rhetoric to delivery stands as the ultimate test of leadership. [And] your presence here is a testament to our collective desire to embark on an exploration of this profound challenge that has confronted leaders across all spheres of influence in Ghana since independence.”

This year’s annual leadership lecture brought together a diverse audience from academia, industry, politics, traditional authority, civil society, students and members of the general public.

Some high-profile dignitaries at the lecture.


Notable among the high-profile dignitaries were the First Lady of the Republic, Rebecca Akufo-Addo; Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong, Chancellor of UPSA; Dr Kofi Ohene-Konadu, Chairman of the UPSA Governing Council, and Sir Sam Jonah, Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast.

The Chancellor of UPSA, Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong presenting an appreciation plaque to Lord Paul Boateng for his insightful lecture. Looking on were Dr. Kofi Ohene-Konadu (Chairman of the UPSA Governing Council) and Professor Abednego Okoe Amartey (Vice-Chancellor of UPSA).


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