Fred Swaniker’s ‘Harvard of Africa’


Fred Swaniker aims to reinvent Africa through education.

Natalia Torres, Staff Writer

Fred Swaniker, 18 years old, wishes to revolutionize Africa with the most powerful tool known to mankind: education. He became headmaster at a school in Botswana opened by his mom. Since then, he has graduated from Stanford Business School and founded the African Leadership Academy, a residential school for 16-19 year olds in Johannesburg, South Africa.  His goal with ALA is to teach a generation of young leaders in order to fix the problems in Africa.  Swaniker believes that a lack of education is a limitation against Africa rising up to its full potential.

“I think education is something that we in the United States take for granted and in the long run, people who have education can succeed more than those who don’t,” freshman Cameron Payne said.

Swaniker’s mother, as the founder of a school,  instilled in him the belief that good education comes from great teachers, students and curriculum, not from great facilities.  With this in mind he began ALA in hopes of empowering young leaders to take charge and allow their continent to reach its maximum potential.

Apart from founding ALA, in 2013 he established the African Leadership University in Mauritius, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean.  Through ALU, he provides students with the unique opportunity to learn about leadership in a classroom environment as well as through real world experiences, such as internships.  One of his students, Wiem Boubaker, is interning with L’Oreal as part of this education strategy.  She will work as social media strategist in the Middle East and North Africa for them for a few months.

Although I believe what he’s doing is admirable, I think that the priority is to solve the problem of hunger and poverty now, and these things take priority over education.

— Andrea Adesso

This inspiring and revolutionary young man has chosen to taken the long term view towards finding a solution to the problem in Africa.  He believes that combining education with real life experiences ALU will be able to create leaders who will shape a better future for this continent.  His company has been named one of 2016’s most innovative companies by Fast Company and Swaniker hopes to have opened 25 campuses around Africa by 2060.