Build­ing Africa, one young per­son at a time

Finweek English Edition - - CONTENTS -

fred Swaniker is a man with big dreams. The se­rial en­tre­pre­neur, best known for his role in es­tab­lish­ing and run­ning the African Lead­er­ship Academy (ALA), an elite school based in Rood­e­poort west of Jo­han­nes­burg, which aims to de­velop some of the con­ti­nent’s most tal­ented teens into the lead­ers of the fu­ture, is now hop­ing to trans­form univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion on the con­ti­nent.

“Africa will not be able to stand on its own feet un­less we de­velop our own peo­ple and de­velop bet­ter lead­ers,” says Swaniker.

Liv­ing in nu­mer­ous African coun­tries, where he saw the af­ter-ef­fects of bad lead­er­ship, in­stilled in him a de­ter­mi­na­tion not just to tackle the symp­toms such lead­er­ship caused, but to ad­dress the prob­lem at the roots. “In­stead of just sit­ting back and hop­ing that good lead­ers drop from the sky for Africa, let’s find a cer­tain way of de­vel­op­ing bet­ter lead­ers for the con­ti­nent,” he says.

From one school…

The ALA, which of­fi­cially opened in 2008, re­ceives as many as 4 000 ap­pli­ca­tions a year from across the con­ti­nent, but can only ac­com­mo­date 250 stu­dents at a time. At the academy, lead­er­ship qual­i­ties are in­stilled in these youths by means of a two-year pro­gramme that pre­pares them for univer­sity en­trance and also gives them a good ground­ing in en­trepreneurial lead­er­ship, African stud­ies, writ­ing and rhetoric.

The vision of the school is to “trans­form

Fred Swaniker


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