UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) lecturer, Francois Bonnici, has joined distinguished leaders from around the continent on one of Africa's premier leadership initiatives - the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme (ATLP).
Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB, is only the second UCT faculty member to have this honour.
The flagship programme of the African Leadership Institute, the ATLP seeks to develop a supportive network of future leaders that will have the capacity and vision to transform the African continent. While the Tutu Fellowship is not the only programme that focuses on emerging African leaders, it is unique in that rather than simply providing a networking opportunity for individuals, it has the clear objective of building leadership capacity.
The five-month, part-time programme provides a wide range of leadership learning experiences to the cream of the continent's future leaders between the ages of 25 and 39, who are expected to rise to top leadership positions in their spheres of activity. The selection process is highly competitive and rigorous.
Bonnici says it is a programme suited to Africa's needs, and plays to the strengths of the programme participants.
"We need to be thinking much more ambitiously, confidently, and across national boundaries if we are to fulfill the significant potential of Africa responsibly and to the benefit of all its citizens. This fellowship provides the network and a united identity for our future leaders," says Bonnici.
The ATLP is run in conjunction with Oxford University and a variety of institutions across Africa, and involves two nine day workshops: the first was held in South Africa on April 27 to May 5 2013, while the second will be held at Oxford University and in London at the beginning of September 2013. Participants are exposed to a number of stimulating projects and inspiring talks by internationally recognised leaders from a variety of fields, and most importantly learn and bond with the peer participants in the programme: all extremely accomplished in their own right.
Over the seven years since its inception, the ATLP has established itself as the foremost leadership programme for high potential African leaders.
The 2013 group consists of 17 candidates selected from 150 nominations of emerging leaders from all sectors of society received from 26 African countries. An additional nine candidates were nominated by the sponsoring organisations.
"It is a privilege for me to join the other fellows from across the continent, such as the CEO of the Rwandan Development Bank; Deputy Minister of Science & Technology in Tanzania; President of the Law Society in Malawi; a key activist in Libya's liberation and the President of the New Libya Foundation, and the Co-Founder of Ushahidi in Kenya," says Bonnici.
Following the completion of the programme, trainees will become Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellows and will form an extended network which will be encouraged to communicate through web facilities of the African Leadership Institute and participate in leadership projects on the continent.
Bonnici says that programmes such as the ATLP are an example of how different African countries can work together for mutual benefit: "The continent as a whole is rapidly moving forward, and the next generation of upcoming leaders consists of world-class individuals who are analytical about the past, and visionary about the future."
Recently returned from the first workshop, he adds that he and the other fellows, send their best wishes to Archbishop Desmond Tutu as he recovers from his recent illness and time in hospital: "I am thankful for this opportunity, and we are all excited to see the outcomes that evolve from the deep personal bonds that have been created across the continent, keeping Archbishop Tutu's vision in mind to use such privilege for the benefit of all in Africa."