Pan-African business school holds first MBA graduation

The African Leadership University School of Business (ALUSB), Africa’s pre-eminent leadership business school based in Rwanda, graduated its first cohort of pan-African professionals on 7 July at a ceremony held in Kigali, with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and renowned African business leader and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa presiding over the occasion.

The theme of the 7 July event was “Building Leaders for the African Century”. In total, 38 students from over 15 different African countries received a Masters degree in Business Administration and Management.

Speaking to University World News after his keynote speech, Masiyiwa urged governments and institutions to invest in leadership skills, needed to transform Africa and the world.

He praised ALUSB for leading the pack in developing and nurturing ethical, high-calibre leaders from across the continent.

“They are empowering a pan-African cohort of professionals not just with education but with the leadership skills needed to transform Africa and the world,” he said.

“ALUSB is changing the way business education is delivered in Africa, for Africa,” the Zimbabwean-born businessman said.

The ALUSB MBA is an Africa-focused world-class executive development programme offered in collaboration with a number of internationally recognised partners.

The programme blends global best practices in business education punctuated with African case studies to deliver a tailored programme geared towards building the skills essential for doing business in Africa.

President Kagame said solutions to Africa’s problems would be found within the continent if young leaders from across the region are granted the right opportunities to work and develop their talents.

“By bringing together Africa’s brightest young leaders and giving them the tools to put their talents to use,” he said, “the ALU is playing a critical role in the transformation of our continent.”

He said his government would continue to support such efforts aimed at empowering social and economic growth within the continent.

Reflecting on what the inaugural graduation means for the continent, Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership University, said the MBA graduates are among the first batch of three million pioneer leaders in Africa from ALU by the year 2060 who will become the catalysts of innovation, prosperity, good governance and entrepreneurship.

“What is consistent here is we are only picking the people who have the highest potential for impact,” said the Ghanaian-born social entrepreneur-cum-educationist.

He added: “We are saying, let’s get the most driven, passionate and the most ethical people who can be our leaders, take them through a process so that they can apply their leadership and entrepreneurial skills to solve our problems.”

Purity Kagwiria from Kenya was among the graduating class of 2018. She said she chose to undertake MBA studies at the ALUSB due to its Africa-focused curriculum.

“I think it’s the only programme that is very Africa-centred,” said Kagwiria, who is also the executive director of Kenya-based Akili Dada, a leadership incubator that aims at empowering young African women.

“You get to learn about case studies from Africa – so you get to see how current problems on the African continent are being solved and you start to think about how you can be part of those processes,” she told University World News.

Ethiopian-born Mulugeta Abrha said he was elated to be among the pioneer graduates.

“I look forward to making a difference in my country and around Africa,” said Abrha, a business manager at Ethiochicken, a poultry-breeding venture in Ethiopia, which aims to improve nutrition and boost the livelihoods of people in rural areas.