African Leadership Institute




The African Leadership Institute (AfLI), a not-for-profit network, was established in 2003, following two years of planning. It is built upon a passionate belief in the importance of good leadership and governance, be it in business, government or civil society. After lengthy consultation with a network of eminent Africans across the continent, they found concurrence that the development of leaders in all sectors was vital to the future success of Africa.  In particular, it was concluded that the focus should be on nurturing the leadership talents of high potential Africans in the 25 to 40 age range, who would constitute the next generation of leaders.

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.

 The African Leadership (AfLI) is a Charity with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as its PAtron and with a well qualified set of Trustees who have a strong commitment to Africa


Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Patron of the Africian Leadership Institute



2009 Archbishop Tutu Fellows and faculty with the Patron
The flagship programme of the Institute is the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme, an annual programme launched in 2006. The Programme is run in conjunction with Oxford University, a variety of institutions across Africa and commercial sponsors, and is designed to provide a wide range of leadership learning experiences to a select group of young Africans who are expected to rise to top leadership positions in their spheres of activity over the next 5 to 20 years. The Fellows are drawn from across Africa and from various sectors, ranging from commerce to charities.  They are selected entirely on merit, without regard to ethnicity or gender.  The object of the Programme is not to “teach” leadership in the classical business school sense, but  to create a variety of opportunities for the Fellows to explore in depth what leadership really means for them, to reflect and internalise the learning, and to apply it in practice.  Particular emphasis is placed on African leadership in a global context.  The classroom work is supplemented by a number of stimulating projects and with talks by established internationally recognised leaders in different spheres, who are more than willing to share their experiences of the challenges and secrets of leadership.

The outcome that AfLI is seeking from its activities is the development of a networked community of future leaders across Africa – members of an alumni who have been exposed to a wide variety of leadership learning experiences from both an African and global perspective – who will have at their disposal the facilities, the connectivity, the intellectual foundation and the rich human resources of the Institute and alumni to influence change and successful development of the continent to reflect its rightful position in the global environment. They will be applying leadership in practical applications that will make a difference to their communities.  As Fellows of the Institute they will feel the collective expectation to make a difference and the peer pressure to do it.


Other Programmes

·                      The African Leadership Institute have been invited by the Private Investors for Africa to design, manage and deliver a prestigious regionally based leadership programme for high potential emerging leaders in the 30-40 age range in government and civil society.  Further information on the Leadership for Change in Africa Programme can be found by following the menu in the left hand column.

AfLI has conducted other high level programmes, working with young leaders, with leadership as an underlying theme, but also building upon an acknowledged expertise in the use of the Scenario methodology in exploring national development and leadership issues. More about these programmes, which each took over a year of constructive visionary analysis by groups of young leaders, can be found in the Projects section of this website. The three major projects conducted were:

·                      Nigeria 2025 – alternative visions of the future of Nigeria completed in 2007, which received a standing ovation as hitting the mark, when presented to the Nigerian Economic Summit

·                      SA 2020 – alternative futures of South Africa created by a multi-disciplinary group of young leaders in 2005. The underlying trends and forces identified by the group are being actively played out in the country as we read this notice years later.

·                      AfLI assisted the government of Cape Verde, an archipelago made up of about 10 islands and 8 islets of the coast of West Africa in formulating national transformation strategy, organizing a national forum, and provided leadership training to the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, all Ministers and senior advisers.  


Redefining African Leadership: The Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellows

By Moira Welch, November 2012

“You are blessed with the talents of leadership but with these, come enormous responsibilities. I hope you are prepared to take up the challenge.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu in an address to the Tutu Leadership Fellows

There is no doubt that meeting the development challenges facing Africa, be they in governance, education, health, energy, infrastructure, gender equality or trade and investment, will depend heavily on one factor: effective leadership. Globalisation, financial uncertainty and political and social change mean that the need for African leadership has never been more important. “Africa is at a critical point in its history…where its resources – natural and human capital – are seen as the next source for global growth. Without strong leadership, the opportunity for Africa to accelerate and move forward will be lost” says South African Saul Kornik.

Kornik, Director of Africa Health Placements, an organisation which works to alleviate the severe shortage of health professionals in the delivery of care to the most disenfranchised communities in South Africa, is part of a network of dynamic young leaders known as the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellows. 150 young leaders from 26 countries across the continent make up the Fellowship’s alumni, ranging from the social, economic, political, technological and environmental sectors. They represent Africa’s best and brightest, and have the potential to play a significant role in the future of the continent.

The Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship is the flagship programme of the African Leadership Institute (AfLI). It is awarded annually to 20-25 outstanding young Africans between the ages of 25 and 40 who are expected to become leaders in their fields during the next decade. The AfLI, founded in 2003 under the patronage of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is built upon the belief that good leadership and governance are crucial to Africa’s future.

This multifaceted learning experience, run in partnership with Oxford University, combines theory, experiential learning and practical assignments in an African and global context. As well as interacting with members of the distinguished faculty, Fellows are exposed to high calibre guest speakers, who donate their time pro bono. These have included President Kikwete of Tanzania, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mrs. Graca Machel, Baroness Lynda Chalker, Lord Patten and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele.

Whilst the Tutu Fellowship is not the only programme which focuses on emerging African leaders, it is unique in that rather than simply providing a networking opportunity for business, it has the clear objective of building leadership capacity. As Baroness Chalker states, “This Fellowship programme is truly one of the best” particularly in terms of the selection process which she feels is extremely well focussed; “… [the] quality of candidates is clearly superior.”

The Fellowship is a powerful, inspirational and life changing experience for participants, and allows them many opportunities for self-reflection and growth. For most participants, their concept of what leadership means changes, and they are able to embrace their full potential; “Leadership is about having a personal and/or collective mandate to lead, in whatever capacity, sector, field, and using that mandate to transform the lives of others. The Tutu Fellowship enabled me to develop that simple philosophy on leadership, in the midst of the competing, complex philosophies about what leadership may or may not be” states 2010 Tutu Fellow Robtel Neajai Pailey, former Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in Liberia, and now a Mo Ibrahim Foundation Ph.D. Scholar.

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The 2010 Tutu Leadership Fellows with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (centre)

The active and ever growing network which the Fellows are part of means that they will have a constant source of help, encouragement and support as they progress in their careers, and more importantly, a mechanism with which to hold each other to account. “The programme does not aim to teach leadership. The focus is on leading not leaders, responsibility not accolades” emphasises Peter Wilson, Executive Director of the AfLI. Part of this responsibility involves creating positive opportunities to enable fellow young Africans to succeed. While still on the programme, the Fellows undertake a community project, individually or collectively.

Their engagement with the community has yielded impressive results, including the development of a nutritional assistance programme for vulnerable HIV positive individuals on anti-retroviral therapy in Zimbabwe. Other significant projects include: the creation of a technical infrastructure using mobile phones and the internet to fight the distribution of counterfeit medicines in East and West Africa, the development of a leadership training programme for students in a number of universities in Kenya, and the establishment of an institution that focuses on providing leadership training and mentoring opportunities to young Liberians.

On Saturday 10 November there will be an Intergenerational Dialogue in Dakar, Senegal which will provide a unique platform for discussion between the Tutu Fellows, prominent established leaders and youth delegates from across Africa. “It is our hope that this event will help identify new approaches aimed at encouraging greater dialogue between the generations. This is highly relevant, both here in Senegal and beyond, as young people increasingly demonstrate that their voices must be taken into account at all levels of society” states Madji Sock, 2010 Fellow from Senegal and Director of Dalberg Global Development Advisors in Dakar. The dialogue is taking place in the context of the Mo Ibrahim Forum – which this year focuses on youth – and is being held in Dakar from 9 to 11 November. The Forum will bring together African civil society, governments, the private sector, multilateral and regional institutions, the international community and a range of young Africans leaders, including 25 Tutu Fellows. They will discuss common high priority issues concerning youth, leadership and the future of Africa, a future in which there is no doubt that the Tutu Fellows will play a leading  role. As Archbishop Tutu himself states, he looks to the Fellows “…to be the generation that drives the transformation of Africa, and…to be at the forefront of change.” 

Al Jazeera are filming the entire 2012 Tutu Fellowship programme, to be made into a 3 hour documentary entitled ‘Tutu’s Children’ which will be shown at the beginning of next year.

For more information on the African Leadership Institute, go to:

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2012 Archbishop Tutu Fellowship Programme 

Twenty-three of Africa’s highest potential emerging leaders in the age range 25-40 have been selected to attend the prestigious 2012 Archbishop Tutu Fellowship Programme. They come from a variety of backgrounds and occupations, but with a common denominator in that they are all high achievers and have demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities. They are chosen on merit and drawn from 11 different countries across Africa. The programme started with a 9 day workshop in Stellenbosch, and concludes with another 9 day workshop at Oxford University and London in September.

The Bios of the 2012 class can be seen on the 2012 Fellowship page in the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Programme Section of this website. Similarly Bios of the 6 prior year’s Tutu Fellows from 2006 – 2011 can be seen in the respective years Fellowship pages in the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Programme Section.

Tutu's Children Documentary

The 2012 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Programme is being filmed in its entirety by an Al Jazeera English Channel film crew for a documentary entitled “Tutu’s Children” which is scheduled to be shown as a 3 part 3 hour documentary at the end of 2012. The documentary will also highlight the amazing work being done across the continent by the emerging leaders selected for the 2012 Tutu Fellowship Programme.

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We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Programme, without whose support this wonderful programme would not be possible:

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Young African Leaders Conference and Awards

Launch of the Young African Leaders Awards by President Karume of Zanzibar on behalf of the Chairman of the African Union, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, who had been called away to an emergency meeting of SADC. Aidan Eyakuze (2006 Tutu Fellow) was Master of Ceremonies, and Sean Lance, Chairman of the African Leadership Institute (second from the left at the table) gave the opening address

For more information on the Young African Leaders Conference and Awards see the Young African Leaders Awards page in the project section.

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February 10, 2008
An Open Letter to Africa's Current and Future Leaders from the 2007 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellows

“This continent has suffered too much.… We need the assistance and commitment of … young leaders to continue to speak up on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, and seek a better life for all”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, April 2007

From Angola to Zimbabwe, questions abound about Africa’s present state. All capitals listed between Abidjan to Zanzibar, are not new to the rising voices of Africa’s sons and daughters who wish to know the fate of their land. Some express this concern through silent hope, others through evident fear, and many others look in no other direction than that of their leaders – those we have come to know as the captains of the ship of the state. Others even argue that Africa’s answers remain with future leaders, and not today’s. But there has been a crisis of leadership in Africa. The hopes and dreams of the citizens of this continent have been dashed by our post colonial leaders – from the heroes of the liberation struggles through to the leaders of opposition parties that subsequently emerged.

The citizens of Africa deserve a brighter future, and that begins with visionary leaders who can answer the challenges that Africa faces as part of a global community in the 21st century. Recent events across the continent are cause for serious concern: from the crisis of corruption in Nigeria, the political tensions in South Africa leading to the 2009 election, or the political crisis in Kenya which is turning a once prosperous country into one that is marred by bloodshed and ethnic tensions. The ongoing conflict in Sudan, the current crisis in Chad, or the socio-political and economic meltdown obtaining in Zimbabwe have all caused great instability in the lives of millions of Africans across the continent.

We do not seek to play the usual game of just listing the problems but join our voices to that of over 920 million Africans to demand fair play in political processes. Though all of our democracies are young we expect our leaders to be men and women of excellence who respect the electoral process and as such the wishes of the people. As young people in Africa who are leaders in politics, business, health and information technology, we stand together and re-commit ourselves to the ideals of true leadership, and we make the following recommendations:

(a) The establishment of a high-level African Union led campaign to fight tribalism and inequality in all its forms across the continent. Each country should establish a Commission Against Tribalism and Inequality (CATI) to fight the scourges, and to protect vulnerable minority groups. CATI should bring politicians using ethnic manipulations to perpetrate violence to justice and stop them from participating in future political contests;
(b) Political leaders must be servant leaders and use their power and influence as a tool for socio-economic change rather than oppression and fuelling personal greed;
(c) The establishment and strengthening of relevant institutions (judiciary, electoral commissions, etc) that ensure independence of the Electoral Regulatory Authorities in each country; and the establishment of an AU Electoral monitoring body which monitors election and has a clear, well defined set of guidelines which it uses to determine if the process is free or fair;
(d) The rediscovery of our true identity as Africans, to embrace and inculcate the moral base of honesty, love, peace and integrity. We believe that people of integrity would not allow a beautiful, socially and economically stable country like Kenya to collapse into political disarray;
(e) The strengthening of our national economies, and systems to ensure the provision of adequate health care, education and other social services that will equip all Africans to partake in a better future.
As young leaders in our own various spheres of influence, we as the 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellows(1) find silence at this critical moment inconvenient. We believe that silence and inaction in the face of yesterday’s challenges are responsible for the anomalies we see across the continent today. We lend our voices to the call for African leaders – today, and in the future – to consider the common good over personal fears or greed. We are proud of those who have shown us that leadership is about service and call on all other leaders to remain true to the spirit of purposeful leadership.

Signed: 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellows [Brilliant Mhlanga (Zimbabwe), Dan Kidega (Uganda), Ed Mabaya (Zimbabwe), Erik Charas (Mozambique), ‘Gbenga Sesan (Nigeria), Grace Ofem (Nigeria), Hassan Usman (Nigeria), Herine Otieno (Kenya), Ipeleng Mkhari (South Africa), Lisa Kropman (South Africa), Mezuo Nwuneli (Nigeria), Niven Postma (South Africa), Saida Ali (Kenya), Takalani Musekwa (South Africa), Tariro Makadzange (Zimbabwe), Terence Sibiya (South Africa), Tracey Webster (South Africa), Yohannes Mezgebe (Ethiopia), Yolan Friedmann (South Africa)]

(1) Each year, 20 high potential individuals from across sub-Saharan Africa are awarded the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship, following a rigorous competitive selection process. The Awards are aimed at the cream of the continent’s future leaders, specifically targeting the next generation of Africa’s leaders in all sectors of society, between the ages of 25 and 39. The fellowship program is coordinated by African Leadership Institute, and it includes a training program coordinated by the SAID Business School at Oxford University. For more information about the Fellowship, please visit