Alieu Fofanah is a speaker, facilitator and leadership coach, who has a proven track record of helping high-calibre, high-performing entrepreneurs and employees successfully reach their next pivotal step. In 2015 he received the British Award for African Development, in 2014 he was selected as a finalist for the Black British Business Awards and in 2010 Alieu was recognised as a Future Leader at the House of Lords by Powerful Media.
Read on to find out why Alieu is a leader…
Country of birth:
African countries you have visited:
Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Angola, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa
African dialects spoken or understood:
Your family background:
I was born in Sierra Leone; I came to the UK with my mum and dad when I was around 5. Only child to my mum, I have half and step siblings who live in Sierra Leone and I have an adopted sister.
Tell us something about your leadership roles (employed or voluntary):
My professional background includes six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), firstly as a Chartered Accountant within the Corporate Advisory team, then moving into a special projects role within PwC’s Africa Business Group to follow my passion to consult on, design and deliver a range of development initiatives. I also coordinated the development and implementation of PwC’s strategy to strengthen its position in Africa.
I launched GoGetters in 2013, a project to explore the business ecosystem across six African countries. During the journey I led the GoGetters team to organise three entrepreneurship workshops, start a sugarcane drinks business in Sierra Leone and film three documentaries. As a result we featured on five TV channels, three newspapers and two radio shows – impacting a further four million people.
I have spoken to over 8,000 professionals and students across the UK and Africa.
What recent achievements (in the last 3 years) are you proud of and why. Give examples of the positive impact you have made in the diaspora and/or on the continent:
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, to raise £2,000 for the Bridging Bintumani project in Sierra Leone.
Mount Bintumani is the highest peak in West Africa and has incredible potential for tourism. At the moment, it is extremely difficult to reach Bintumani Mountain. Access is limited to a rope bridge, hence the project aims to build a bridge, which will improve access to the mountain.
A few words of advice to young leaders (age 5-11):
Get comfortable with discomfort – Learn to keep going, even when doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. Just because it is challenging at first doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you have to try harder and for a longer time until you can.
Stay in your lane – Some people will be moving faster or slower than you. Learn what they are doing right, but don’t try to be them. The same way Usain Bolt stays in his lane when he is running a race, he doesn’t look to the side or behind him, he runs straight at the finish line. Stay in your lane.
Friends – surround yourself with friends that charge you, motivate you and challenge you to be a better you. Leave friends that drain you, get you into unnecessary trouble and doubt your ability to make something great out of your life.