Positioning Africa for the 21st Century introduces the concept of think tanks to those not versed in it and suggests roles think tanks can play in the development of African countries. It takes the reader through a journey of policy and decision-making on the continent, and case studies the country of Botswana as an outlier in the region. Dr. Magara also case studies the East Asian countries of Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore with regard to the role leadership and think tanks played in their rapid development. He delves into globalization, its impact on the continent and how African countries can reposition themselves to ride the globalization waves.  The book advocates for a different leadership paradigm from the one that characterized Africa in the last sixty years, emphasizing that in all situations, quality leadership is the game changer.  It explores various avenues for funding think tanks bearing in mind the peculiarities of the African continent. Positioning Africa for the 21st Century is a clarion call for current and emerging African leaders to avoid mirroring the mistakes of the past six decades and rise to the challenge of taking Africa to its preferred future. With over 700 citations from over 280 sources, this well-researched book is a must-read for policy and decision makers on the continent, students and practitioners of leadership and think tanks, and those with interest in the preferred future of Africa.



Dr. Magara has touched two critical ingredients that must underlay Africa’s turnaround namely, quality transformational leadership and critical thinking, backed by research because development is intentional and knowledge intensive. These are the roles leadership and think tanks play.

Stephen Adei, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Leadership, First Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Accra, Ghana.


This book brings to the fore one of the fundamental issues that has restricted African development in the last six decades. Namely, the limited capacity of indigenous state and non-state think tanks in providing the planning framework that translates developmental aspirations and priorities into concrete results in terms of national policies and programs. As is stated in the book, “A national think tank is to the nation what the brain is to the human body.” Has Africa for the most part been like a body without a brain? This book is a must-read for every leader, young and old – especially those from the continent of Africa.

Professor Vincent C. Anigbogu, Ph.D., Director General, Institute for National Transformation International, Lagos, Nigeria.


Africans were not invited to attend, nor were they consulted, when imperial powers met in Berlin, 1884-85, to carve up the continent into political and economic entities that still exist today. That was in the 19th Century. Subsequent to the partition, colonized Africa had no say in the economic, social and political policies, which were devised in Europe and imposed indiscriminately on the natives in the colonies. That was in the early- to mid-20th Century. African bureaucrats and technocrats were flown, First Class and Business Class, to the Paris Donor Conferences to receive and effect economic relief policies fashioned by the World Bank and the IMF in Washington DC, when Africa’s economies were sinking in the mire. That was is the late 20th Century. It is now the 21st Century. It is high time African countries started thinking their development challenges through, and making contextually relevant prescriptions and strategies. Functional think tanks will not only mitigate the unproductive outsourcing of analysis and solutions for our development, as well as address the underemployment of our intellectual capacity, but also reduce the debilitating effects of dysfunctional one-man rule that has long saddled governance. This book is a description of how think tanks can be a game-changer.

David Sseppuuya, author, ‘Africa’s Industrialisation & Prosperity’ (2017); consultant, World Bank Tanzania and Uganda country offices; former Editor-in-Chief, The New Vision, and former Executive Editor, The Daily Monitor, Kampala, Uganda.  


Dr. Magara’s well-researched global comparative analysis of Botswana, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore present a compelling case for the value of think tanks. It leaves the reader absolutely convinced that creating and funding think tanks is worthy and necessary not only for Africa, but for the global economy as well.

Diane M. Wiater, Ph.D., Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA


This book guides the reader through important insights on how think tanks can be used to create effective teams, strategies and plans to achieve monumental goals. While the content can be applied to many nations, it serves as an important intervention tool for African leaders to unlock greater potential through think tanks and thereby help to accelerate the overall pace of development.

Dr. Virginia Richardson, BCC
Foresight Center, Inc. Founder & CEO, and
Doctoral Professor of Strategic Leadership & Foresight