Who we are

About Us

The African Presidential Leadership Center (APLC) is a South Africa-based NGO that has a continental focus and acts on a global scale. Our programs offer unique insights into contemporary trends and developments in Africa, by engaging current African leaders as well as former African heads of state and government and connecting them with the continent’s next generation of leaders.

The African Presidential Leadership Center (APLC) was officially launched at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, on March 22nd, 2016.

APLC held its inaugural event the African Presidential Roundtable, October 30 - November 1, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The African Presidential Roundtable was attended by former presidents H.E. John Mahama (Ghana), HE Rupiah Banda (Zambia) HE Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), HE Karl Offmann (Mauritius), HE Amani Karume (Zanzibar), HE Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria) and former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye (Tanzania). More than five hundred luminaries from across the continent attended this historic summit. The African Presidential Round Table is one of the signature programs of the APLC.

Since the African Presidential Round Table was inaugurated in April 2003, in Boston. Each year has seen a significant growth in the size and stature of this forum. The involvement of former African heads of state, diplomats, and international dignitaries has resulted in cutting-edge conversations and policy discussions on topics of relevance to Africa’s growth and development. Over the years, Round Tables have been held in such varied locations as Boston, Berlin, London, Mauritius, Dar es Salaam, and Johannesburg.

Directors

Ambassador Charles R. Stith

Board Chairman (Non-Executive)

Ambassador Stith is currently the Executive Chairman of The Pula Group. The Pula Group is a family of companies focused on high value investment opportunities in Africa. Prior to assuming his present position as Chairman of Pula, Ambassador Charles R. Stith presented his Letter of Credence as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the United Republic of Tanzania in September 1998. He served as the Ambassador in the traumatic period after the August 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam. Because of his able and steady leadership, the Embassy emerged from the bombing stable, and set a new standard for U.S. Embassies promoting U.S. trade and investment in Africa. Stith worked with the Tanzanian government to enable them to become the first Sub-Saharan African country to reach the decision point for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC).

Ambassador Stith is a founder and Non-Executive Chairman of the newly established African Presidential Leadership Center, Africa. He is on the Advisory Committee of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the founder and former National President of the Organization for a New Equality (O.N.E.), which focused on expanding economic opportunities for minorities and women. Most notably during his tenure at O.N.E., he helped negotiate and broker the first comprehensive community reinvestment agreement in the United States. The agreement committed Boston financial institutions to $500 million in mortgage and commercial lending to low and moderate income and minority communities in Massachusetts. He later served on the CRA Regulatory Agency Working Group, chaired by then Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig. He was one of the architects of the regulations redefining the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which has resulted in nearly $2 trillion in credit and capital for low- and moderate-income communities and communities of colour. Prior to heading O.N.E., he was the Senior Minister of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston. He was an appointee of then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In addition, he has been an adjunct faculty member at Boston College and Harvard Divinity School.

He has served on the National Advisory Boards of FannieMae and Fleet InCity Bank, the editorial board of WCVB-TV, and the boards of West Insurance, Inc. and the Wang Center for Performing Arts, among others.

Ambassador Stith was formerly on the Faculty of the Boston University Department of International Relations, where he taught a course on Africa and Globalization. and was the founding director of the African Presidential Center at Boston University. He is a co-editor of the recently published African Americans in US Foreign Policy: From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama (University of Illinois Press 2015), the author of For Such a Time as This: African Leadership Challenges (APARC Press, 2008) and Political Religion (Abingdon Press, 1995). He also served as the Senior Editor of the annual African Leaders State of Africa Report and has authored many articles, which have appeared in such publications as the African Business Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Chicago Sun Times.

Ambassador Stith is a graduate of Baker University, the Interdenominational Theological Center’s Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, and Harvard University (Th.M). He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Elizabeth City State University, University of South Carolina, Clark Atlanta University, and Baker University.

Abel Dlamini

Director & Chairman of the Finance Committee

Abel is the Executive Director of the APLC and the Executive Chairman of SekelaXabiso. Abel was a founding member of Sekela Consulting, one of the partners in the merger that created SekelaXabiso. He played a key role in the establishment of Sekela Consulting as a market leader in the internal audit, IT audit, forensic audit and consulting services sector prior to its merger with Xabiso Chartered Accountants. Prior to establishing Sekela Consulting he was a partner at both KPMG and Arthur Andersen and served as the chief executive officer at Dlamini Inc.

Abel is a member the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors (SA) and was recently appointed as a member of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) by the former Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene. He also received a national award in the Business & Professional Services category at the 2014 Titans Building Nations Awards.

Professional Experience
Abel has cultivated profound experience in internal audit and external audit over the years. He was a founding member of Sekela Consulting and he played a key role in the establishment of the company as a market leader in internal audit, IT audit, forensic audit and consulting services sector prior to its merger with Xabiso Chartered Accountants.

Prior to establishing Sekela Consulting, Abel was a partner at both KPMG and Arthur Andersen and served as the chief executive officer at Dlamini Inc.

Abel has successfully set up various audit committees, appointed internal and external auditors for the following institutions:

  • University of Durban-Westville;
  • Medical Research Council of Southern Africa; and
  • South African National Biodiversity Institution.
During his tenure as a partner at KPMG, Abel became the managing partner of public sector internal audit in the country. He assisted all the offices of KPMG in Gauteng, Polokwane, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape with the handling of the big proposals and tenders in the public sector.

Transnet
Abel was instrumental in forming and sustaining the Transnet relationship and he provided strategic direction to the internal audit team. He remained a key stakeholder through his involvement in the E&Y, Sekela and Xabiso consortium and played a pivotal communication role on behalf of the consortium teams and Transnet Management, Board and Audit Committee.

Samuel R. Foster, II
Samuel R. Foster, II

Director

Samuel Foster is a Director of the APLC and President of Treland Capital LLC in South Carolina. He holds a BS degree from the University of South Carolina and is a current or past member of various professional institutions such as: The Urban Land Institute, University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, The Harry Dallara Foundation and The Boys and Girls Club of America.

Mr. Foster’s areas of expertise include banking, real estate development and construction, franchise development and ownership, security services and property management.

Mr. Foster has also received various accolades from the University of South Carolina and other institutions and businesses for his role as a speaker, businessman and sportsman.

Samuel R. Foster, II
Tommy Mohajane

Director

Tommy Mohajane is a Director at the APLC and is also on the advisory committee of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and AFCORP. He enjoyed a long illustrious career at the IDC, serving in numerous management positions as Senior Socio-Economic Development Specialist.

Mr. Mohajane holds a B.A. Honors Social Science (Economics) from York University, Heslington and several other qualifications from different Institutions around South Africa and the UK. Mr. Mohajane has also received various Management and development training throughout his working career. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. Development Studies (Economics, Politics, Sociology and History) at Wits University.

Mr. Mohajane areas of expertise include Socio-Economic Development, Business Planning and Marketing, Research and Development, and leading Special Projects such as: Planning and Environmental services, Economic Development & Policy.

Samuel R. Foster, II
Millard Walter Arnold

Director

Millard Arnold is Senior Advisor to Bowmans, South Africa’s leading firm of attorneys. He is Chairman of Project UBU and the former Chief Executive Officer of the South African Business Schools Association. Mr. Arnold is a non-executive director of Generator Plant Hire, the Mother and Child Academic Hospital, and member of Council of the University of the Free State. He is the former Honorary Business Representative for the Government of Singapore in South Africa and a former member of Council of the University of South Africa.

He was formerly the Executive Chairman of Black & Veatch Africa, the Executive Director and Group Legal Counsel of Murray & Roberts and was the first ever U.S. Minister-Counsellor for Commercial Affairs for South and Southern Africa. Mr. Arnold has also served as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Mr. Arnold was professor of law at Touro University and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School.

Mr. Arnold holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame. He was a journalist for the Washington Post newspaper and a Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of “Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa”, “The Testimony of Steve Biko”, and “Steve Biko: No Fears Expressed.” In addition to his accomplishments as a prize winning photographer who has exhibited his works in London, Washington, New York, and Johannesburg, Mr. Arnold is a published poet, artist, and actor appearing in such films as “Ali” with Will Smith; “Borderline,” “A Critical Assignment” and “Diamonds.”

Chairman's Remarks

The African Presidential Leadership Center

On March 22, 2016 the African Presidential Leadership Center was launched at the Nelson Mandela Center. At the launch, I made reference to a familiar Africa proverb that I believed was particularly fitting for the occasion – “Until the lion tells the story of the hunt, the hunter will always be the hero.” The point was that the APLC not only represents a vehicle for Africa to tell its story, it is a vehicle that will help the continent write its story. One of the keys to understanding the continent’s story is its past leaders. One of the keys to writing the next chapter in Africa’s story is its future leaders. Leadership matters. What past leaders have done and current leaders are doing represents the foundation upon which future leaders will build.

The African Presidential Leadership Center will provide a context for us to understand the challenges and successes of former African leaders and engage them as a resource for the next generation of leadership. There are currently more than 40 democratically retired African heads of state and government; by the end of the decade there will be more than 50.

This is a potentially tremendous resource in furthering Africa’s need for more accountable government. These former leaders also represent a tremendous resource to be tapped by emerging leaders. Four years ago, in my capacity as director of a similar center in Boston, I noted the trend in the growing number of democratically retired African heads of state and government. The conclusion to which I came was there would be a need to create Centers on the continent to harness this tremendous potential. That was the seed that yielded what we call the African Presidential Leadership Center in South Africa.

When we launched the Center, I received from former Tanzanian Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, who could not be with us for the occasion. He wrote: “Congratulations for your untiring efforts to help develop leadership in Africa, and particularly thank you for starting this African Presidential Leadership Centre at Mpumalanga University in South Africa.

While I thank you also for the invitation extended to me personally, I am very sorry to say I will not be able to attend due to health reasons. As am writing this email I am actually in India, hospitalized at the Apollo Hospital in Bangalore. The operation I required has been done but I am still recovering in the Hospital. Though physically I will not be there but count on me, that spiritually we are together and praying for the success of this inaugural meeting.

May God Bless you.

This is the power of this idea and initiative. We have friends all across the continent, ill and well, who are praying for our success. We will not let them down.

“Forward ever, backward never.”