Liberia: Cummings Challenges Young Liberians On Good Leadership

Protesters at the Capitol in Monrovia (file photo).

Alexander Benedict Cummings, political leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) has challenged young and older Liberians to be humble, which he said is a "very good characteristic of good leaders."

Mr. Cummings' comment contained a statement he delivered on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 when he addressed a group of young Liberians during a lecture series that formed part of the formal launching of Smart Liberia's Change Makers' Village. The Smart Liberia office space is situated between Saye and Jallah towns in Monrovia.

Mr. Cummings who spoke to the young, enterprising Liberians that had gathered in the hall of inarguable Liberia's first social innovation hub, said the traits of good leaders, managers and about making good life choices rest with the choice the youth will make for the future.

He also urged the young people to get involved with politics, adding, "Most of the big choices in life are shaped by political actors. If you will want to change them, you will have to run for political office, including being poll watchers and political advisers."

Mr. Cummings served for more than 18 years at the global beverage giant, Coca-Cola, before retiring in March 2016 as executive vice president and chief administrative officer. He told the young people that there is not a single policy solution to end national problems, and there are multiple interventions that can be staged to effectuate change at different times.

He was the head and founder of the Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF), and later became president of Coca-Cola's Africa Group in 2001, and led the company to a period of strong growth in the franchise's Africa business.

With that expertise, Cummings further urged those young Liberians to remain focused, and do positive things that will make their lives and the country better.

James Earl Kiawoin, Co-founder of Smart Liberia, which operates the Change Makers' Village, also buttressed Mr. Cummings's admonition to the youth.

He said that among the things that have really stuck with him from Cummings' lecture are getting involved in and with politics and being humble.

"I just went to a policy school and the big idea we learned is that there is a big policy solution to end problems. But Mr. Cummings was saying we should be humble, and that there are no big policy ideas to end problems," Kiawoin said.

According to him, he finds Mr. Cummings' statement humbling, "because politicians are not normally humble so to hear this coming from a politician, I found it humbling."

A participant, Ms. Shari Raji, program manager, Employment Accelerator, also spoke of being active politically, "because one's ability to make choices is imparted by the people in power, who will make choices for one to make choices."

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