African individuals and institutions have contributed only 20% of the funding received by the academy which is the only institution of its kind developing leaders for the entire continent. Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi said African governments and corporate organisations had the responsibility to nurture and support young talented people to take up leadership positions and help the continent move out of perpetual poverty.

He said Africa had immense resources that could be exploited to uplift the living standards of the people, but was being hindered by lack of focused leadership.├é┬á”The only way Africa is going to get out of the rut of perpetual poverty is by investing in institutions that nurture talented young people to take up leadership positions. It is our responsibility as leaders to support such institutions,” Dr Mwangi said.

Dr Mwangi was speaking at a Nairobi Hotel during an event organised by the African Leadership Academy, and attended by top Kenyan CEOs and Higher Education Assistant Minister Dr Kilemi Mwiria.

Renowned South African Jazz maestro Hugh Masekela, a strong supporter of ALA also attended the event.

Started two years ago, ALA aims to create leaders in Africa through an exciting program of leadership, entrepreneurship, mentorship and exposure to renowned African leaders and role models. The institution is headed by Mr. Christopher Khaemba, the former principal of Alliance High School.

Khaemba expressed confidence that all the students at the school will gain admission in leading universities among them Oxford, Cambridge and Stanford and Yale. “The agenda of the world in the UN and many places has been about Africa. It is time there was a break for Africa to look after itself. The ALA initiative is one way of doing it,” Khaemba said.

Out of the 180 students from across Africa studying at the institution, 26 are from Kenya. The students are admitted to ALA on the basis of academic achievement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to public service and passion for Africa.

Speaking at the event, Dr Mwiria said Africa has the distinction of being the only continent where the proportion of the poor is increasing. “Africa is the only continent still lagging behind. What was once called the dark continent sometimes seems to get even darker,” he said.├é┬áDr Mwiria challenged business and corporate leaders in Kenya to help shape the policy making decisions to benefit Kenyans.

The founder and CEO of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa Mr. Fred Swaniker said most problems facing Africa boil down to poor leadership “When African scientists and African politicians come together to create a green revolution for Africa then we can finally feed ourselves,” said Swaniker.

He said ALA planned to train 6,000 future African leaders in the next 50 years, adding that African leaders would not emerge overnight, and had to be nurtured and trained to take over leadership.

During the event, Equity Bank announced support of Ksh26 million towards ALA. The bank also offers internship opportunities to students of the academy while on vacation.