African Leadership Academy: Training Africa’s Future Leaders

The African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa is training students to become the future leaders of the continent. The founder, Fred Swaniker, was born in Ghana but throughout his life, lived in different countries including, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Gambia and South Africa.

According to Swaniker the ALA tasks students with starting their own businesses and working closely with the local communities situated around the school. Students are also taught about the roles of CEOs and CFOs as well as other senior positions within business, politics and industry to prepare them for a future at the very top of society.

From his experience of recruiting across the continent, Swaniker concludes that Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are producing the best students, while schools are weakest in Liberia and South Africa. So far over 400 students have taken part in the ALA’s leadership program and over the next 50 years, Swaniker says the school’s aim is to create 6,000 new leaders for Africa.

Fred Swaniker
Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the African Leadership Academy
Fred Swaniker is an entrepreneur with deep experience in education and leadership on the African continent. He is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is the Founder & CEO of African Leadership Academy, a world-class, pan-African secondary school that aims to develop future generations of African leaders. The idea for African Leadership Academy came about while Fred was living in Nigeria in 2003 and realized the urgent need for more effective and ethical leaders for Africa. He has extensive experience launching and managing private educational institutions of excellence in Africa. Fred helped launch and was a director of Mount Pleasant English Medium School, one of the top-performing private elementary schools in Botswana. More recently, Fred founded and led the launch of Global Leadership Adventures, a leadership development program for youth with sites in 10 countries. Fred also gained entrepreneurial experience when he was founding Chief Operating Officer of Synexa Life Sciences, a biotechnology company in Cape Town that today employs 30 South African scientists.

Fred brings a uniquely pan-African perspective to African Leadership Academy. He grew up across the African continent, living in Ghana, the Gambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and he has lived as an adult in South Africa and Nigeria. During his time as a consultant for McKinsey and Company, Fred provided strategic advice to the management teams of large companies in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Fred was recognized as one of fifteen “top emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” in 2006 by Echoing Green. He was chosen as one of 25 TED Fellows in 2009 and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.
Fred holds an MBA degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top ten percent of each graduating class. Fred also holds a B.A. degree magna cum laude in economics from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.