Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker

Formal First Name
1976 - present

Fred Swaniker is one of Africa's educational visionaries, serial entrepreneur and leadership development expert, on a mission to bring better leadership to Africa and the world. Fred is the Founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group, an ecosystem of organizations that are catalyzing a new era of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders. Over the past 15 years, he has founded and led the pre-university African Leadership Academy, the African Leadership University, the African Leadership Network and ALX — a next-generation leadership development and talent sourcing platform. He is also the founder of The Room, a talent agency for the world’s ambitious doers. A passionate entrepreneur, Fred also served as founder and CEO of Terra Education, a global education company that currently provides leadership training to about 4,000 people annually at 46 sites in 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2019, Time magazine recognized Fred as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" and Fast Company included African Leadership Group among the 50 most innovative companies in the world.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • AFRICAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY – A globally recognized pre-university program that identifies high potential youth across the African continent.

  • AFRICAN LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY – An undergraduate and postgraduate institution that uses a unique and innovative learning model.

  • ALX – A career accelerator for young professionals that prepares and helps them launch careers of impact.

  • THE ROOM – A community of high impact leaders on a path to make global change.


  • Prior to his work in education, Fred co-founded Synexa Life Sciences, a biotechnology company with operations in Cape Town, Berlin, London, and Dublin. 

  • Prior to launching his entrepreneurial pursuits, he worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in South Africa


  • TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World 2019

  • Forbes Top 10 Young Power Men in Africa 2011

  • U.S. President Obama's Forum for Young African Leaders 2010

  • TED Fellow 2009

  • Echoing Green 15 Best Emerging Entrepreneurs in the World 2006

  • Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network

  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader


  • Board Member, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

  • Board Member, Greca Machel Trust

  • Member: Creating Shared Value Council, Nestle

  • Chair, Rwanda Convention Bureau