Youth Leader, Entrepreneur, African.
I am an African. I was born in Ghana and grew up in the Gambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. I have worked in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania. With each part of Africa I lived in, I fell more deeply in love with my continent, and with this love came a strong desire to see Africa prosper.
Fred Swaniker, 36 is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in education and leadership on the African continent. He is currently based in Johannesburg, and is a co-founder of the African Leadership academy. He is deeply passionate about Africa and through this academy, Fred Swaniker is determined to develop the next generation of leaders for the continent.
On The African Leadership Academy
Almost six years ago. I went to Nigeria to do an internship in Lagos. And while I was there, I met these wealthy Nigerians complaining to me about fees they were paying to send their kids to schools abroad. They were paying about $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Some of these kids are leaving at age 12, 13.
I co-founded the African Leadership Academy. Our goal is to identify young people throughout the continent—125 each and every year—that we believe have the potential to develop and implement important new ideas that can transform Africa. We will bring these young people to the Academy for 2 years in a full-time residential program, as a sort of “Rhodes Scholarship” for Africa’s most promising young leaders. This will begin a life-long process of nurturing these amazing people to bring about the change that our beautiful continent so desperately needs.
Swaniker launched the ALA with donations from key Nigerian supporters including Tunde Folawiyo, Gbenga Oyebode, Hakeem Belo-Osagie and the late Osaze Osifo. Early international supporters included Carly Fiorina (formerly of Hewlett-Packard), Intuit co-founder Scott Cook, former Cisco Systems CEO John Morgridge, Stanford professor, Irv Grousbeck, and Derek Schrier of hedge fund Farallon Capital, among others. He purchased a 20-acre former printing plant, which became the site of the institution in Johannesburg, SA. Finally, he hired 20 teachers from top schools around the globe.
Fred also helped launch and has been 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 throughout the world. In the three years since launch, Global Leadership Adventures has more than doubled its enrolment and expanded to five campuses around the world (Ghana, South Africa, India, Brazil, and Costa Rica.) 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
2006 – Fred Swaniker, together with ALA co-founder, Chris Bradford, was recognised by Echoing Green, a global non-profit organisation operating in the area of early-stage social sector investing, as one of the 15 best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world.
2009 – He was selected as one of 25 TED Fellows.
2010 – He was one of 115 young leaders selected to meet President Obama at the first-ever President’s Forum for Young African Leaders.
2011 – Forbes.com rated Fred Swaniker as one of “The 10 Youngest Power Men In Africa”
2012 – Fred Swaniker was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.
2013 – Speaking at the Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa on June 29, President Obama sang the praise of Fred, for his enormous contributions to the continent.
In the words of Obama:
“We want to empower entrepreneurs like Fred Swaniker… Fred helped to start a biotech company, and now uses his expertise to help other young Africans develop their leadership skills so that they can come back and put those skills to use serving their communities, starting businesses, creating jobs. So thank you, Fred, for the great work that you’re doing “
Come, listen and interact with Fred Swaniker at TEDxEuston 2013, 7th December, London. Get Your Tickets Here
- African Leadership Academy International Essay Competition (mdginafrica.wordpress.com)
- Remarks by President Obama at Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall
- Africa’s new generation leaders
- Its your right to be successful by Fred Swaniker
- TEDxEuston: Challenging A Starved Optimist 3: Stirring the Soul (uxdesignerdiary.wordpress.com)
- Fred Swaniker On CNN
- Rage for Change – Ndidi Nwuneli at TEDxEuston (whootafrica.com)