Fred Swaniker

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Frederick Kenneth Swaniker
Fred Swaniker - PopTech 2015 - Camden, Maine.jpg
Born1976 (age 42–43)
Alma materMacalester College
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Occupationentrepreneur, educator
Known forCo-founder of African Leadership Academy

Fred Swaniker (born 1976) is a Ghanaian entrepreneur and leadership development expert. He has launched four organizations that aim to develop leaders, primarily in Africa. He is the chairman and founder of the African Leadership Academy, an institution located outside Johannesburg in South Africa that is aiming to develop 6,000 transformative leaders for Africa over a 50-year period. He is also the founder of African Leadership Network, Global Leadership Adventures, and African Leadership University which is opening multiple universities across Africa with the aim of grooming 3 million leaders by 2060.

Serving as a 2017 keynote speaker at Oxford University's OAC, addressing continent affairs, he took part initialing monumental heirloom the Philosophers Legacy.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

His father was a lawyer and magistrate; his mother is an educator. Both are Ghanaian, but when he was 4 his family fled Ghana after the military coup and by the time he was 18 years old he had lived in four countries in Africa.[2] He attended Macalester College in Minnesota. He was initially employed by McKinsey & Company in Johannesburg, before attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California,[3] where he received an MBA and was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at Stanford.


While at Stanford, Swaniker wrote the business plan for African Leadership Academy, a special pan-African school that would groom the future leaders of Africa. This was based on his belief that the single largest impediment to Africa's progress was the lack of good leadership.[4] He used his Silicon Valley connections to find financial backing and launched the Academy immediately after graduating in 2004.[3] The full-time residential boarding school teaches leadership and entrepreneurial skills to students from across Africa while preparing them for universities around the world. By 2017, almost 1,000 future leaders had joined the ranks of the Academy. For most students, tuition is waived, provided they promise to return to Africa after graduating from college.[3]

In 2014 at a TED conference in Brazil, Swaniker announced an expansion of his vision: a new network of 25 African universities that would ultimately groom 3 million leaders by 2060.[5][6][7] By the end of 2016, two campuses had opened: one in Mauritius and the other in Rwanda. Fast Company recognized this network of universities as the 3rd 'Most Innovative Company' in Africa and CNN released a feature calling the university 'the Harvard of Africa'.[citation needed] Graca Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, serves as the Chancellor of the university, while Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank, serves as the Chairman of the university's Global Advisory Council.[citation needed]


Swaniker's work as an educational entrepreneur has been praised by the U.S. President Barack Obama[8] and other prominent global figures.[who?]

He has been recognized as a TED Fellow (2009)[9] and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2012).[10] He was named one of the Top Ten Young Power Men in Africa by a 2011 Forbes Magazine online feature.[11] Echoing Green recognized him as 'one of the top 15 social entrepreneurs in the world' in 2006.[citation needed] In 2017, Fred Swaniker received two honorary doctorates--one from Middlebury College in the USA and the second from Nelson Mandela University in South Africa [12]. In 2018, he received a third honorary doctorate from Macalester College in the USA

In April 2018,Paul Kagame appoints him as a board chairperson of board of directors with hope that he adds value and help push the country’s agenda of generating revenues from tourism.[13]


  1. ^ "Leaders endorse "Phylosophers' Legacy", a monumental piece". Talk Media Africa. Retrieved Dec 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "Creating Tomorrow's African Leaders, Outlook - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. ^ a b c Barret, Victoria (May 26, 2008). "Fighting Africa's Brain Drain". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Training Africa's future leaders". BBC News. 2012. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  5. ^ "Fred Swaniker : « Nous construisons l'université du futur en Afrique ! »". Le (in French). Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  6. ^ "Fred Swaniker : « Le secteur privé peut aider l'Afrique à entrer dans l'économie mondiale du savoir » –". (in French). Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  7. ^ "Fred Swaniker : "Pour sortir de la pauvreté en Afrique, il faut investir dans nos cerveaux"" (in French). 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  8. ^ Sedzro, Anthony (July 3, 2013). "Obama Commends Ghanaian Entrepreneur For Leadership Role". Ventures - Africa. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  9. ^ TED Fellow profile
  10. ^ World Economic Forums Young Global Leader
  11. ^ Top 10 Young Power Man in Africa,, September 13, 2011, The 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa
  12. ^ Middlebury College
  13. ^ writter, Staff (2019-04-04). "Kagame Appoints Ghananian Millionaire Chairperson Of Key Gov't Institution". Taarifa Rwanda. Retrieved 2019-04-05.