This article predicates the leadership dilemmas and progress made by many African countries since independence of individual nation states. The concept, leadership, has evolved over decades with several authors attempting to have one universally accepted definition, even though this is difficult. Put simply, leadership is the ability to have influence over people towards the effective achievements of goals and shared vision. Further elucidation will depend on the institution and the context, which in this article, is leadership in the African context as well as those in the Western arena. The comparison of countries exhibiting exceptional leadership accomplishments on the one hand and
countries in dire straits on the other hand will further provide an understanding of the importance and benefits of real or perceived good leadership. The article will suggest the adoption of a leadership model most suited for the continent, as it contains the elements that are appropriate for a leadership paradigm that could work in Africa. This article further interrogates the assumption that, decisionmaking and policy analysis in the public sector realm can be ‘rational’, against the inherent messiness of politics in the developing world. In this article a thorough examination of the role of different conventional players in the policy process is made, in respect of their capacities to rationalise policy outcomes.