Our Founding Beliefs

Five key beliefs drove the establishment of African Leadership Academy and determined the focus and design of the institution.

Address the Underlying Causes of Problems

To create lasting change in Africa, it is necessary to make investments that treat the causes, and not just the symptoms, of under-development in Africa. We believe an undersupply of leadership across all sectors is the root cause of many of Africa’s problems. Africa needs strong leaders throughout society, in the spheres of politics, business, health care, education, the environment, and beyond, to create positive change and generate growth and prosperity.

The Power of One

History has seen countless examples of the power of individual leaders to catalyze the actions of large groups of people and unleash massive positive change in society. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu led a peaceful transition from oppression to democracy. Wangari Maathai inspired environmental and political activism by women across Kenya. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs transformed the global economy with their innovations in computing, and Muhammad Yunus created a new path from poverty to prosperity by developing microloans at the Grameen Bank.

The Power of Youth

Many great leaders begin “changing the world” at a young age – when they believe the whole world is open to them and they are free to chase their big dreams. Nelson Mandela was only 26 when he and Walter Sisulu established the ANC Youth League. Bill Gates established Microsoft at 19, and Steve Jobs launched Apple at age 21. We need to invest in Africa’s leaders when they are young and dreaming and give them the confidence they need to bring their ideas to the world.

The Need for Pan-African Cooperation

We believe that a pan-African approach is required to catalyze growth and development in Africa. African leaders must understand and collaborate with peers across the continent to remove barriers to trade, end conflict, and stimulate widespread positive change.

Entrepreneurship is Fundamental to Growth

Africa needs entrepreneurial leaders across all sectors who will throw off the constraints of existing institutions to change the paradigm and create value on the continent. Most entrepreneurs in Africa today are “subsistence” entrepreneurs, with small businesses and meager incomes that allow them to support only their families. To break the cycle of poverty and generate significant growth, however, Africa needs large-scale entrepreneurs.

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