The Africa Leadership Initiative

Inspired by the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program (, the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) is a collaborative effort of seven partner organizations in Africa and the United States – The Aspen Institute (United States), CETA Construction Services (Mozambique), the Databank Foundation (Ghana), Infotech Investments (Tanzania), LEAP Africa (Nigeria), The Letsema Foundation (South Africa), and TechnoServe (Africa and United States) – to foster values-based, action-oriented leadership in Africa.  These seven organizations comprise a Steering Committee with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that communicates regularly and holds annual face to face meetings on the continent.

ALI Fellows are highly successful, entrepreneurial individuals from business, government and civil society.  There are currently some 120 African Fellows from all of the countries above including Kenya and Uganda.

ALI was designed to capture the energy, the talent and the resolve of an emerging generation of leaders in Africa -- leaders who have already realized a certain level of success -- and to inspire them to move from success to significance by engaging in the foremost challenges of their countries and their times with support and confidence.

At present, there are Africa Leadership programs in five locations – Ghana, East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) Mozambique, Nigeria and South Africa. From 2005-2015, the Initiative aims to identify, strengthen and motivate 360 more “Fellows” with fifteen classes of 24 Fellows each. Rwanda was recently added to the East Africa programme.

In 2007 there were seven classes of 20-24 Fellows comprising some 160 ALI Fellow in five locations– East Africa ,Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa.  The Fellows are men and women between the ages of 25 and 50, who have already achieved a high-level of success in their fields of endeavor (approximately 75% from the business sector, the balance from government and civil society sectors) and who are committed to promoting – and personally exemplifying -- effective, values-based leadership in their countries. 

The Fellows are selected through a process managed by local partners in each region or country with the goal of assembling classes that are diverse in viewpoint, political affiliation, industry, ethnicity and gender.

The Fellows attend four 4-5 day seminars over a period of 18-24 months covering a range of leadership issues and challenges, and designed to encourage Fellows to move from ideas to action on the biggest challenges their communities and countries face. They also commit to carrying out a high-impact Leadership Project of their own choosing – vetted and approved by their peers.

The four seminars are held in Africa, with one optionally held in Aspen, Colorado.  Each is led by a team of skilled moderators trained and certified by the Aspen Institute.

  1. The Challenge of Leadership: A 4-day seminar in which the Fellows are exposed to a range of leadership styles – from Howard Schultz at Starbucks to Ricardo Semler at Semco (Brazil), Mahatma Gandhi to Jean Monnet, Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela.  Case studies include the pharmaceutical industry and HIV/AIDS in Africa, Nike and international labor practices in Asia.  The Fellows produce a personal handbook of the attributes of effective, enlightened leaders – and of what such leaders do and don’t do.
  1. The Great Values Seminar: Defining the Good Society: A 5-day seminar in which the Fellows build their vision of “a good society” by reading, discussing, debating and relating the writings of a wide range of thinkers to their present-day conditions.  Thinkers include Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes, Lee Kwan Yew, Milton Friedman, Julius Nyerere, Rachel Carson, Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and others.  The Fellows share their personal thoughts on the proper role of government in society as well as on the sorts of trade-offs they are willing to accept in the name of economic growth and social stability.
  1. Leading in an Era of Globalization:  A 4-day seminar in which the Fellows explore the economic, political, scientific, cultural and ethical dimensions of globalization.  Readings and discussions cover a wide range of topics including the demands of global capital, the future of the African Union, and the challenge of eliminating corruption, the growth of Asian outsourcing and the importance of financial remittances to local economies.
  1. The Promise of Leadership: A 4-day seminar in which the Fellows share the results and lessons learned from their Leadership Projects and explore issues of balancing work and family, community engagement and personal legacy


© ALI EA Foundation 2008-12