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Coca-Cola’s Global Executive Team Engages ALA on Talent Development

On the 7th of November, African Leadership Academy hosted the Coca-Cola Global Executive Team, led by its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, James Quincey, for a learning visit centered on developing talent for the continent and the world at large.

Welcoming the global team to ALA, Co-Founder, Fred Swaniker delivered a presentation titled “A Moonshot for African Talent”, highlighting ALA’s model of identifying, developing and connecting leaders as our strategy for developing the much needed generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders that Africa needs.

(From left to right) Fred Swaniker , Esther Soma ’10, Claudia Masemola ’09, and Spencer Horne ’08

“We develop leaders with purpose and not just for leadership’s sake. We encourage leaders within our network to live a life that addresses the grand African challenges that we have identified.”

These challenges, such as inadequate healthcare, infrastructure, and urbanization, access to impactful education and more, will be critical to address, especially considering that by the year 2035, 40% of the world’s workforce will be on the African continent.

“If we don’t address these challenges now, if we are not developing these leaders now, then we’re going to have a very big problem in the future.”

Emphasizing the need to invest in African talent, Fred subsequently led a panel discussion with three ALA alumni who are trailblazers in their respective fields:

Esther Soma ’10, a program officer at the United Nations in South Sudan is on a mission to restore peace in her country. Her role has seen her engage with global diplomats as a representative of women and civil society in South Sudan, ensuring representation of women in all levels of the South Sudanese government.

Claudia Masemola ’09 is an investment professional at CrossBoundary, a frontier markets investment advisory firm whose mission is to unlock private capital to drive strong returns and sustained growth in traditionally underserved markets.

Spencer Horne ’08 is the founder of an award-winning logistics company, Cloudline that seeks to revolutionize the logistics industry by connecting marginalized communities to the global supply chain by building technology that can deliver goods (think medicines, food, and cold chain supplies), to areas that have been affected by inadequate infrastructure.

According to Claudia, “My work has shown me that you can always make returns and that sometimes, the most competitive returns in business are done when companies are socially conscious and are investing in good.” She added that it is imperative for companies to be “conscious of the people they are hiring and be intentional about making spaces for them to flourish.”

The insightful discussion ended off with Fred Swaniker giving a nod to Coca-Cola’s contribution to the development of talent, as the company has provided internships and employed more than 50 ALA alumni.

“Investing in talent here is not about saving Africa, but is instead about unlocking a new era of possibility and innovation and entrepreneurship in the whole world which starts with unlocking the untapped pool of potential on this continent and providing meaningful opportunities.”