FRED SWANIKER was born in Ghana, but left the country at the age of four. By the time he was 18 Mr. Swaniker had lived in four African countries, including Botswana, which proved life changing. As a youth, Swaniker was given the opportunity to serve as the headmaster of a school in Botswana. His early leadership experience gave Mr. Swaniker the confidence to take on similar roles, including the founding in 2004, of a summer program called Global Leadership Adventures (GLA). Mr. Swaniker started GLA after graduating from the Stanford School of Business in California in the USA.
Another very successful undertaking in which Mr. Swaniker has engaged is the founding of the African Leadership Academy (ALA), an exceptional residential secondary institution on the outskirts of Johannesburg that enrolls students from cross the African continent and well beyond it. ALA opened in 2008 and offers a first class education in the form of a two year program of study to 15 to 18 year olds. ALA students have witnessed outstanding success and have placed into leading universities around the world from Harvard and Yale to Oxford and the London School of Economics.
ALA students collectively have earned over $35 million in scholarships and have launched more than 40 non-profit and for-profit enterprises. At least five ALA entrepreneurs have been recognized by the World Economic Forum for their innovative organizations. Mr. Swaniker also had been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In addition, he has been featured as one of the 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa by Forbes, profiled on CNN’s African Voices, named a TED Fellow, and praised by US President Obama.
Mr. Swaniker’s not only plans to graduate 6,000 leaders from ALA over the next 50 years but also has launched African Leadership Unleashed, an initiative to create “Africa’s Ivy League” or what will include 25 excellent new universities across Africa. The aim is enable ALA graduates and others to attend world-class universities in Africa. The first campus opened in Mauritius in September 2015.