African Leadership Academy

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Graduation Ceremony at the African Leadership Academy. Picture: ALA Website

The African Leadership Academy (ALA) is one of the continent’s leading pan-African high schools.[1] It is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fred Swaniker, Chris Bradford, Acha Leke and Peter Mombaur founded the ALA in 2004. The ALA curriculum focuses on African Studies, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

As of 2019, the ALA has admitted over 700 students from 46 African countries.[2]


Ghanaian, and co-founder, Fred Swaniker met Chris Bradford at Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was a result of this meeting that the conception of the ALA was formed in order to offer world-class academic tuition to the African continent.[3] In 2004, Peter Mombaur and Acha Leke provided initial funding for the academy, and by June 2005, the ALA’s innovative curriculum was piloted.

ALA Curriculum

The ALA offers a two year pre-university program which uniquely combines Cambridge A Levels with additional core subjects specific to entrepreneurship and leadership.[4]

Entrepreneurial Leadership and African Studies are fundamental to the ALA curriculum. Students are given projects that develop their entrepreneurship skills. African studies include hunger eradication, health care provision, economic growth, and conflict resolution.[5]

Achievements & Investment

The African Leadership Academy received internationally recognition when co-founders Chris Bradford and Fred Swaniker were named Echoing Green Fellows in 2006. Bradford and Swaniker were included in the list of “15 Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs in the World”.[6] In 2006, ALA won the 2012 Siebel Scholars Impact Award for their contribution to Social Entrepreneurship through education.

ALA alumni and graduates have contributed significantly to African Innovation on the continent. Both individuals and graduate classes have regularly received awards and fellowships from organizations and educational bodies. Noteworthy individuals have included: Jihad Hajjouji and Hafsa Anouar (Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace Awards), Joseph Munyambanza (Global Citizen Award from the United Nations), Tom Osborn (Echoing Green 2014 Climate Fellow and Forbes’ 2015 List of 30 Social Entrepreneurs under 30), Julius Shirima (Commonwealth Youth Award), and Ngor Majak Anyieth (2015 Dalai Lama Fellow).[7]