We know some of the difficulties that can hold back talent from Africa and we want to unleash and support the next generation of leaders.
Chairman of the Board
After meeting and marrying in their native Uganda, Firoz and Najma Lalji and their families were forced out of the country in 1972 when dictator Idi Amin expelled many of its Asian citizens. While Mr. Lalji went on to have a very successful career as an entrepreneur and business owner in both Canada and the United States, his passion for Africa has never diminished. Having experienced firsthand the destruction wrought by poor leadership, Mr. Lalji is driven by a desire to empower a new generation of positive and effective African leaders. It is from this ambition that the idea for the Program for African Leadership (PfAL) was formed.
A new program
Mr. Lalji graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE) in the late 1960s, and his ties with his alma mater have remained strong over the years. Having already supported an endowed individual scholarship at the School, he began talks in 2011 to develop an initiative at LSE that would benefit Africa on a much grander scale. His vision was to bring together emerging leaders from across Africa, provide them with access to a world-class education and importantly to facilitate their working together afterwards for the betterment of African communities.
With the financial support of the Lalji family foundation, the first ever PfAL program took place at the London School of Economics over three weeks in March 2012. Starting out as an intensive three-week program, this first iteration brought together 18 emerging leaders with a diverse range of professional backgrounds from across 13 African countries. Another three-week program followed swiftly in September 2012, welcoming a further 36 eager participants to the LSE. The PfAL program developed significantly the following year, into its current format: a full-length (12 months) scholarship program, incorporating an LSE masters degree at its core. In September 2014 PfAL Hub, a bespoke online communications platform for the PfAL Network, was launched with the number of alumni then standing at 80 members.
The PfAL Foundation was established by Firoz Lalji in 2012 in order to support the program’s future development and particularly the now growing network of PfAL alumni leaders.
The Foundation will support some scholarships for the program at the LSE, but its main focus is to provide funding for an annual alumni event in Africa – the Africa Forum – and alumni activities linked to it. The goal of the Forum is to provide a platform for discussion regarding both the reduction of poverty and the encouragement of economic and social development in Africa.