The African Leadership Institute (AfLI), a not-for-profit network, was established in 2003, following two years of planning, with some seed funding by Novartis International AG. The primary focus of AfLI is to build the capacity and capability for visionary and strategic leadership across Africa, especially among the promising leaders of the future. It is AfLI’s belief that without good leadership across the various levels and sectors of the continent, all the other excellent initiatives in Africa will be stifled. Investment in good leadership thus has an enormous return in terms of future social, economic, political, technological and environmental benefits.
AfLI is therefore focusing on identifying Africa’s future leaders and offering them a platform for leadership learning and application. It is our intention to establish a network of future leaders across Africa committed to the successful development and transformation of the continent. The Institute intends to serve as a vehicle for these leaders to influence change in addition to providing these leaders of tomorrow with the experiences, insights, tools and confidence to become drivers of the renaissance of Africa. A key philosophy of AfLI is the need to seek African solutions and ideas to the demands on African leaders and to provide a neutral platform to stimulate learning and application of leadership in the wider community.
The flagship programme of the Institute will be the prestige African Leadership Programme (ALP), a multi-faceted leadership learning experience aimed at the cream of the continent’s future leaders. This is the activity that will establish the Institute’s core network of future transformational leaders, and stimulate its intellectual foundation. Although only recently established, in this establishment phase, the Institute is running two leadership programmes, one with a select group of young leaders in South Africa to develop a shared vision of the nation they would like to inherit as leaders in 2020, and construct scenarios of the different paths the nation could take with different leadership strategies (SA 2020). In the other programme we are working with the Prime Minister’s office in Cape Verde in developing the leadership required for transforming the island nation. The Institute has designed a series of other programmes such as Leadership for a Healthier Africa, Lusophone Leadership Development, Ghana 2025, and Conversations with African Leaders, to expand its reach and to intensify learning across various levels and sectors in the continent. The last proposal is intended as an invaluable piece of research on African leadership. We will also be coordinating a module on Leadership and Futures Studies for the Masters programme on Development at the University of Western Cape
The Institute is a virtual one, and implements its programmes in collaboration with donors, strategic partners and regional representatives, including established non-governmental organisations, the private sector and educational institutions. The partner institutions at the moment are Oxford University (Templeton), University of Western Cape, Ghana Institute for Management & Public Administration, and Makerere University. Emory University in Atlanta is also a potential partner. The physical presence of the Institute across Africa is ensured by the regional representatives. They conduct regional extension programmes to a wider community, in cooperation with the strategic partner institutions. Through the ALP and the extension programmes, the Institute intends to involve at least 2000 high level leaders and potential leaders in leadership learning initiatives each year, catalysing the intellectual foundation and high quality resources of the ALP and the Institute’s network. The overall direction of the Institute is set by the Board of Directors and a small secretariat manages the day-to-day activities of the Institute. Both are advised by a Technical Advisory Panel made up of eminent African scholars, experts and practitioners.
NB: The Network of Regional Respresentatives is already established, as is the board. Several prominent Africans have agreed to sit on the Advisory Panel.
The Very Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, is the Patron of the Institute.