The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.
Acha Leke is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co Africa. He also has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. As co-founder and member of the board of the African Leadership Academy, a co-educational boarding school that aims to develop the next generation of African leaders, he is keenly involved in nurturing young game-changers across the continent. And he also caters for those leaders who are a little older as the co-founder of the African Leadership Network (ALN). ALN is an influential and dynamic collection of next-generation names that you’ll be hearing a lot more from.
You are heavily invested in promoting leadership on the continent. When do you think we’re going to start seeing an impact?
We are already seeing the impact of better leadership in Africa. The continent’s rise to the second-fastest growing region in the world over the past 10 years is in part due to better leadership.
Young leaders in my mind need to have more of a mindset of ‘doing’ versus ‘complaining’.
We still have a long way to go – but we do need to recognise the improvement in leadership that we’ve experienced on the continent over the past decade.
What particular and distinct qualities do young leaders need to make an impact in Africa?
Young leaders in my mind need to have more of a mindset of ‘doing’ versus ‘complaining’. It’s too easy for us – and especially for the young Africans – to complain about everything. Why things suck… What government is not doing… Why there are no jobs… How bad the education system is etc. What’s more powerful is to pick one of these issues and instead of complaining about it, do something about it. Pull together a group of like-minded folks and set out to address the problem. We don’t see enough of that at the moment.
Who’s your African of the year?
This is a tough one. What is the criteria? I love what Donald Kaberuka has done for Africa over the past 10 years. Also what Aliko Dangote has done especially now that his pan-Africa expansion plan is starting to materialise. His cement plants are operational not just in Nigeria anymore but now in Senegal, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa etc.
Visit the African Leadership Academy
Visit the African Leadership Network
Come back tomorrow for the next TRUE Africa 100 and keep up to date using the hashtag #TRUEAfrica