VC’s Open Lecture: Fred Swaniker

31 March 2022 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to the first Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture in 2022, to be presented by Mr Fred Swaniker, founder and chief executive officer of African Leadership Group. The lecture is titled “The impact of the African youth on the 4th industrial revolution”.

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly scaled the adoption of technology across the globe. Zoom went from a nice to have to a necessity and university open lectures went from largely physical events to almost completely virtual. All companies have realised that they require software developers, cloud developers and other tech talent to keep their businesses running, and organisations are evolving from physical workspaces to completely remote.

For the first time in the history of the world, jobs without borders is a conscious thought. Locations are no longer a limiting factor and according to a recent report, about 38% of Africa software developers already work for companies outside of Africa.

There is a unique opportunity for African youth to power the global workforce. By the end of the century, Africa will make up 40% of the world’s population yet we have only 2.6% of the world’s software engineers. Africa is also the continent with the youngest working population (average age of 19 compared to Germany and Japan’s 47 and 48) as well as the continent which will have the largest workforce of 1.1 billion people by 2035.

Swaniker is recognised as one of the top 15 emerging social entrepreneurs in the world by Echoing Green and as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is a TED Fellow and an Aspen Institute Fellow.

He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Macalester College and Middlebury College (both in the Unites States) and the Nelson Mandela University. He sits on the boards of the Rhodes Trust and the Graça Machel Trust and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Waterloo University (Canada) and the Creating Shared Value Council at Nestle.

In 2019, he was recognised as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. He has a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Swaniker is on a mission to bring better leadership to Africa and the world. He leads the African Leadership Group – an ecosystem of organisations that aims to catalyse a new era of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders for Africa. Over the past 15 years, he founded and led the African Leadership Academy, African Leadership University, African Leadership Network and The Room – a community of global leaders committed to unlocking opportunities for undiscovered talent, starting in Africa. Collectively, these endeavors aim to transform Africa by developing three million African leaders by 2035.

Please join us as we glean valuable insights from Swaniker at this lecture.

Date: Wednesday, 13 April 2022
Time: 18:00 SAST
Platform: Microsoft Teams


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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