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BRICS Expansion and Human Capital Development

Will BRICS + SIX invest in bridging the leadership gaps in emerging economies?

BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) was formed in 2009 to increase trade and economic cooperation among its member states.

In 2010, BRIC became BRICS by adding South Africa into the mix.

This year, in its 15th Summit in Johnsburg, South Africa, BRICS nations invited six new member states:

  1. Argentina,
  2. Egypt,
  3. Ethiopia,
  4. Iran,
  5. Saudi Arabia, and
  6. The United Arab Emirates.

BRICS is no more a club with exclusive membership. Up to now, though BRICS’s mandate incudes increasing cooperation among emerging economies, it didn’t have a single member from the Middle East.

In 2024, on top of three countries in the Middle East, BRICS will add two more African countries from the east and north, and one more nation from South America.

These six emerging economies are set to join BRICS in January 2024. BRICS also signaled further expansion next year.

By taking this critical step, BRICS now truly represents the global south. This is very significant…

BRICS has already taken initiatives to fulfill its mandate of bringing sustainable development through economic cooperation among its member states.

For instance, BRICS established the New Development Bank (NDB) in 2014. NDB aims to finance projects and initiatives to help emerging economies in the south and east attain sustainable development and, in turn, usher a bright future for their citizens.

The bank has six focus areas:

  1. Clean energy and energy efficiency
  2. Transport infrastructure
  3. Water and sanitation
  4. Environmental protection
  5. Social infrastructure
  6. Digital infrastructure

We hope that BRICS + SIX invest in Human Capital and NDB incorporates Human Capital development as one of its future focus areas.

Sustainable development requires raising world-class leaders at all levels. The above six focus areas need competent leaders both in quantity and quality who contribute their fair share to bring true transformation within a short period.

We, at PRO Leadership, would love you to join us…

  • If you share our cause and vision, why don’t you join us?
  • If you would like to see world-class leaders in your community who build bridges rather than erect walls and create barriers, why not join the movement?
  • If you would like us to work with you in designing and executing exchange programs for your institution or community, don’t hesitate to ask.

Reach out via [email protected]

We look forward to chatting with you and seeing how you may be involved according to your passion, talent, and experience.

The Missing Link

Have you ever asked what many emerging organizations and countries might be lacking to experience true transformation?

Experience exchange has been one of the ways leaders of organizations and nations have been using to bring transformation into their organizations and countries.

Many organizational and national leaders from emerging economies visit highly performing organizations and nations to learn from their experiences.

It is a smart move:

  • Why reinvent the wheel?
  • Why not shorten the learning curve?

It makes sense.

However, if it is done wrongly, experience sharing may not benefit both the hosting and visiting leaders. It may not lead to true transformation…

Let me just give you one example.

Many organizations and countries from emerging economies send their high-level delegates, almost every year, to learn from the transformational experiences of formerly emerging economies such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore…  

As you already know the facts on the ground, we don’t yet have so many emerging economies who benefited from the exchange. They’re not getting the ROI to their efforts and expenses.

Except in a few cases, most exchange programs have been done wrongly. They were ineffective and rendered mediocre and marginal results.

One missing link that is coming in the way preventing many organizations and countries from experiencing true transformation is the lack of context…

The trend we have seen from such experience exchanges is that the visiting leaders focused on:

  1. Policies,
  2. Processes and Systems, and
  3. Technologies that contributed toward the transformation of the hosting countries.

These are important lessons to draw but they aren’t transformational. Implementing the policies, systems, and technologies these transformed countries have been using to get where they’re today can’t bring lasting transformation.

There must be a missing link…

That missing link is the context. Many leaders ignore or undermine the underlining environment that fostered the transformation in these former emerging economies.

Policies, processes, systems, technologies, and so on alone can’t bring lasting transformation…

That is why PRO Leadership is committed to designing effective and holistic leadership exchange programs that deliver lasting transformation.

We also ensure that the hosting countries’ leaders benefit from the exchanges. So far, it has been a one-way street.

That is why it hasn’t been effective and unsustainable. The exchange should be a win-win. All parties should have skin in the game.

  • If you share our cause and vision, why don’t you join us?
  • If you would like to see world-class leaders in your community who build bridges rather than erect walls and create barriers, why not join the movement?
  • If you would like us to work with you in designing and executing exchange programs for your institution or community, don’t hesitate to ask.

Reach out via [email protected]

We look forward to chatting with you and seeing how you may involve according to your passion, talent, and experience.

Becoming Bridge Builders

The need for raising world-class leaders who build bridges, those who refrain from erecting walls and creating divisions

In the 20th C, the global socio-political atmosphere was tense, especially immediately after WWII.

  • The world was divided into two camps.
  • The arms race was at its peak.
  • Humanity lived with constant terror of possible nuclear annihilation.
  • The scarce resources of humanity, including intellectuals, were spent on how to destroy the other camp.
  • It was ugly and counterproductive. No one benefited from that state of existence.

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, it seems the next COLD WAR is in the making, if not already formed.

It is unfortunate that history is repeating itself. It is frustrating to see that we don’t learn from our past…

In this Century, by now, we should have cool-headed leaders from both camps who could take the lead and tone down the tension and, in the process, save humanity from potential extinction.

At this stage of human evolution, it is embarrassing to lack leaders who understand that no one will benefit from a nuclear exchange… No one will come out as a winner and unscratched…

  • How did we get here?
  • Why are we having unthoughtful leaders who are comfortable crossing red-lines?
  • Why are these leaders push some boundaries carelessly and play with fire???

Anyways, at PRO Leadership, we are neutral. We don’t take sides. In this matter, we don’t think anyone should take sides and fan the flame. Both camps are equally vulnerable…

We’re also a small non-profit organization with limited scope. Resolving this conflict is beyond our pay grade 🙂

However, we call upon leaders in the west and south/east to remember those wise leaders who tamed their personal egos. Leaders like John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Nikita Khrushchev, and Mikhail Gorbachev, who stepped up to the plate when the hour called for cool-headed leaders. They took LEADERSHIP and acted responsibly during that scary time where humanity was so close to experience a devastating nuclear war, and self-destruction.

We also call upon the UN and other continental and regional institutions to continue to play constructive roles in resolving the conflict FASTER and through dialogue. This bloody conflict must stop. The death of young Russians and Ukrainians must stop NOW.

That said, our scope is limited. We’re committed to bridging the leadership gaps in emerging economies one community at a time.

We are highly concerned about this conflict because of two reasons:

  1. First, we are human beings and deeply feel the pains our brothers and sisters at war are experiencing.
  2. Second, the conflict has created global divide and led to another COLD WAR, affecting our mission and many other critically important undertakings in emerging economies.

The conflict is coming in the way of raising world-class leaders who may transform their communities by tackling the dire challenges their respective communities are facing such as the lack of:

  • Quality infrastructures like hospitals, schools, roads, transportation vehicles…
  • Adequate clean water,
  • Enough nutritional foods, and so on.

Emerging economies now have to divert their resources, attention, and focus away from the dire needs of their communities because of this emerging COLD-WAR tension among big dogs.


  • Emerging economies are victims here.
  • Even if they’ve not played any role in what is happening, they can’t escape the consequences.
  • They’re forced, directly or indirectly, to take sides.
  • They’re paying dire prices because of high inflation, consumer prices, and demand-supply route disruptions.
  • And more…

It doesn’t look good for emerging economies… They had to overcome so many chronic challenges. And now, they’ve to deal with this HUMAN-MADE divide, which isn’t their own making?

We strongly believe that there are lots of things both the West and East/South commonly share. What units us outweighs what divides us.

The stake is high. The challenges we all humans face demand us to set aside our differences including how this conflict should be resolved, BRIDGE the GAPS, and work together on those common agendas that affect all of humanity.

That is why we at PRO Leadership create programs that raise world-class leaders in emerging economies who create synergy with other leaders by focusing on what units us. Leaders who refrain from erecting walls and burning bridges…

Our programs are also designed to empower leaders who are skillful in negotiating win-win deals on those issues we have differences. Leaders who avoid war and conflict by employing skillful diplomacy.

Unfortunately, long-term initiatives like ours take the back burner whenever communities deal with pressing issues like the one we are now facing. It seems every essential and long-term project has been frozen, both in the west, and east/south and everything is centered around this conflict and the cold war in the making.

This is the 21st C. Humanity has come a long way.

We should continue to evolve mentally and spiritually to defeat humanities common enemies:

  1. Poverty,
  2. Conflicts,
  3. Diseases,
  4. Environmental degradation,
  5. Terrorism,
  6. Corruption, and more.

This isn’t the time to reverse gear, slow down, take the down spiral path, and self-destruct.

Of course, we’re mindful that we’re a non-profit. We help communities raise extraordinary leaders. We don’t have the mandate, abilities, influence, or resources to play any meaningful role in bridging the global political divide.

However, we firmly believe that small organizations like ours, community organizations, and individuals like you and I can make a difference if we use whatever little influence we have to play our fair share in promoting tolerance, peace, unity, synergy, and collaboration… If we act as BRIDGE BUILDERS…

Of course, we don’t give up. Even if our journey is slowed down and taking a back burner, our long-term vision is to see LEADERS in emerging economies who:

  • Transform their respective community once and for all.
  • Defeat poverty, conflicts, and corruption.
  • Learn from those leaders who have already achieved economic development.
  • Share the leadership wisdom they gained that worked in their respective communities with other leaders in the West.

As you can imagine, this goodwill, collaboration, and exchange of wisdom can only happen if there is peace. It can only happen if leaders in the west and south/east see each other as strategic partners, not as rivals. While the cold war is waged and the political atmosphere is tense as it is now, it is hard to build bridges and learn from one another.

What is worst? While we’re in this COLD WAR mentality,

  • Chances are, we may all DIE if someone crosses the proverbial red line.
  • Even if we SURVIVE for now, the fight against poverty, corruption, and environmental degradation takes the back burner.
  • Our civilization stalls, if not goes backward decades, as creative minds and resources are invested in creating weapons.
  • It takes us decades to trust, reengage, and collaborate again, wasting precious time and opportunities that could have advanced our collective human evolution and civilization.

As you can see, leadership makes or breaks. Leaders can lead us into WAR and DESTRUCTION or into PEACE and PROSPERITY.

The problem is severe when the leadership gap is at the national and global levels. It tricks down…

Though our programs and initiatives may not dent the direction of this conflict or what is happening globally, if PRO Leadership and other stakeholders continue to raise world-class leaders at family and community levels, chances are these leaders one day will become national and global leaders. That is our mission and mandate, and that is our vision and what we see… Raising leaders who will bring a lasting transformation in emerging economies playing their parts for a better world!!!

  • If you share our cause and vision, why don’t you join us?
  • If you would like to see world-class leaders in your community who build bridges rather than erect walls and create barriers, why not join the movement?

Reach out via [email protected]

We look forward to chatting with you and seeing how you may involve according to your passion, talent, and experience.

Presented for the Leadership talk show at Amarah TV

The host of the leadership “Yesera Amerar Tebebe” show that airs on Amhara media- Ayele Anawete, invited me to contribute toward a show aired today. The theme of the session was “Leadership within Government Agencies”. I was asked to cover two topics as a background (appetizer 🙂 to the main discussion that was covered by the main guest inside the studio. The points I addressed were Who is a leader? What are the key leadership attributes vital to succeed?

I applaud the effort of the producer and also the Amhara media for giving leadership development an emphasis and priority. As the saying goes, leadership makes or breaks. No country, organization nor business could be able to fly above the level of growth of its leadership. Unfortunately, in our country, there is a common notion that leaders are those who are at the top with authority and title. We cannot transform our nation and organizations without raising as many leaders as possible at all levels.

That was why in the first part of my presentation, I addressed this issue declaring that we all are leaders wherever we are, at least, for our job description. I emphasized that impactful leaders at the top encourage and empower their people to take leadership. They create the right culture, provide incentives, and promote those who take lead.

The second issue I raised was the importance of developing certain leadership qualities. Like any other competence, leadership requires an investment of time and resources. Sadly, unlike in other cultures, we undermine soft skills like leadership competence. We are okay to go to school, invest our time, energy and money to attend training to learn technical skills but we hesitate even refuse to do the same and fail to improve our leadership abilities. Many of our leaders lead out of zeal and using just conventional wisdom, in the 21st C, without developing the necessary leadership attributes (For that matter, many lead Bechebeta 🙂 For detail, watch the full session. I myself missed the whole session and looking forward to getting the recording. Will share with you the link when it becomes available. Stay tuned!

Assegid Habtewold, Bridge Builder

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PRO Leadership Global Inc. (www.proleadership.org) is a non-profit organization based in Maryland, US. PRO Leadership PROmotes the right kind of Leadership, PROduces great leaders to bridge the leadership gaps (including gender leadership gap) worldwide one community at a time. If you would like to support what we do, feel free to reach out to us, and be part of the movement.

Interview with the Leaders of Your Ethiopian Professionals Network

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview the co-founders of Your Ethiopian Professionals Network. In this interview, we talked about:

  1. Why YEP exists? What was the very reason that led you to establish YEP
  2. What are the top three major achievements of YEP?
  3. What are the 3 biggest lessons you learned individually because you have been serving as leaders?
  4. What are the toughest challenges YEP faces?
  5. What lessons would you like to share with other similar professional groups?
  6. What the future holds for YEP? Where do you see YEP in the next five years?
  7. Are there some ongoing or upcoming projects you’re engaged with right now that you would like to share with our viewers?
  8. And more.

These young dynamic leaders have a lot to offer. I encourage you to watch their interview. Reach out to them if you may have any feedback or question. And of course, if you’re in the DC metro area, join YEP, be with like-minded people to grow personally and professionally. If you’re in Ethiopia, no worries, you can be part of the initiative they recently introduced in Addis.

To learn more about Pick Yourself Up and watch archive interviews, check out its website.