Fifteen years ago, Fred Swaniker and his co-founders at African Leadership Academy embarked on a journey to prepare and empower the next generation of game-changing African leaders who would catalyse the fast rise of the continent. That vision has since expanded into a revolutionary movement.
Fred set out on a mission to provide students with a ‘just-in-time’ education that would prepare them for the dynamic world ahead, instead of a ‘just-in-case’ education of facts and figures, just in case it becomes relevant in their lives. In Fred’s words, “instead of declaring a major, we groom the young leaders to declare a mission - a challenge to mitigate in the continent - and then curate their own learning around that problem”. This is how entrepreneurial leaders are created across all the AL institutions.
In April 2019, Mo Ibrahim, a telecoms entrepreneur and the chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, who sees development in Africa through a similar lens, nominated Fred as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019. Like Fred, Mo Ibrahim, believes that one of the keys to solving Africa’s Problems is creating a new set of leaders. However, with 60% of the continent’s population under 25, Africa is the world’s youngest continent and expected to be home to half of the world’s youth by 2100. Harnessing this resource is no small undertaking, but Fred is addressing this challenge head on. Recognizing the complexity of this project in his toast speech at the TIME 100 Gala, he encouraged those who are capable to also do hard things in their aim to solve the world’s problems.
Fred has embarked on a journey to groom Africa’s next leaders, and evidently this bold mission hasn’t been in vain. Being nominated as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, attests to the impact that this journey has made thus far.
Follow this link to watch Fred’s toast at the 2019 TIME 100 Gala in New York.