Instrumental Africans: AFC Fellowship

Instrumental Africans: AFC Fellowship

Towards South North Dialogue

The AFC Fellowship brings together emerging leaders from across Africa, the wider global South, and the global North.

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The AFC Fellowship is both a leadership development programme and a place for dialogue and exchange between leaders of the rising generation across the global South and North. The focus is our shared climate challenge and other key global issues. It will strengthen the capacity of a cohort of dynamic emerging leaders who, as they progress in their careers, will build bridges between the global North and South and find new ways to address the climate crisis.

The AFC Fellowship is a collaboration between Common Purpose and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). The AFC Fellowship builds on the success of the pilot programme which ran in 2023 with 50 participants from around the world.


of participants would recommend the programme to another person


of participants feel better prepared to be a bridge-builder between the global North and South


of participants feel better prepared to have a greater impact in their organization/community

Samaila Zubairu
President & CEO, Africa Finance Corporation
"For far too long, Africa has been viewed by the rest of the world as a place of ‘problems’...I wish to propose a rethink...I believe Africa holds the solutions to many of the fundamental problems afflicting the world today."

How it works

The programme

To join the AFC Fellowship, the first step is to be accepted onto the Climate Challenge Leadership Programme. Successful applicants will join a cohort of 40 people from different backgrounds and sectors and from around the world. The Climate Challenge Leadership Programme comprises two key elements:


You will be introduced to the Common Purpose thought leadership of 'Leading Beyond Authority' - the ability to cross boundaries and deliver results outside of your direct circle of control. Essential to tackling any complex challenge.

You will address the challenge "How can the world reform carbon markets to incentivize the preservation and expansion of forests, grasslands, peatlands, and mangroves in Africa and across the global South in the interest of achieving global net zero."

Through the Common Purpose 'Innoventure' process, based on design thinking principles, you will explore the challenge in a creative and dynamic way. The final stage of this process will be a presentation by you, to a panel of senior leaders, on your ideas to meet the challenge.

Once you have successfully completed the programme you will become a Fellow and can connect and work with Fellows from your own year, and from previous cohorts through Fellows gatherings.

In addition, you can apply to take part in the Challenge Lab which is designed to support Fellows to take their ideas and concepts to the next level.


Who is it for?

Successful applicants will be from different sectors, backgrounds, countries, and communities across Africa, the wider global South, and the global North.

They will be:

  • Emerging leaders (typically with over 5 years professional experience)
  • Highly motivated individuals who show commitment to bringing about positive change, and who can demonstrate their leadership potentials and/or capability
  • Interested in climate issues and in addressing the imbalance between the global North and South

Sharmita Paul
Fellow, Senior Customer Success Manager & Operations, Terragon
"The global North and the global South have common agendas when it comes to climate change – we just need to come together and collaborate to do this. We all want to do some good – whether it’s taking up a small sustainable project, or leading climate policy change - collaboration from all levels is a must."

Why take part?

Participants will:

Enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority equipping them to work across boundaries; a pre-requisite to solving any complex problem

Grow new networks by connecting with diverse participants, contributors and speakers from the global North and South who they would otherwise never meet

Stretch their analytical and creative skills by exposing them to a new approach to innovation

Develop their influencing skills by putting them in front of senior decision-makers to present their findings

Generate new ideas and approaches to meet this hugely important challenge

Quote mark graphic
Yitemgeta Fantu Golla
Fellow, Chief Technical Officer, TM Geothermal Operations Plc
"In the Climate Challenge Programme, I’ve found more than just a platform to address climate issues; I’ve discovered a community of visionaries. Together, we’re not just talking about change – we’re building it, one sustainable idea at a time."
Iulia Lumina
Fellow, Researcher, Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value, University College London
"An intense deep dive into climate challenges, both from the perspective of collaboration and interpersonal skills, but also in terms of navigating different contexts, terminology, assumptions, and levels of idealism and pragmatism."
Nevana Srikissoon
Fellow, Manager: Projects, eThekwini Municipality
" eye opener into how people from diverse backgrounds, who are not directly involved in climate change, can work together to make a positive impact on the world’s climate related challenges"

Climate Challenge Leaders Programme

The first Climate Challenge Leadership Programme ran in September and October 2023. Read the impact report here.


Applications now open

Programme details:

Format: Online - the sessions take place live on Zoom. Resources and learning materials are provided via our online platform which is available 24/7.

Cost: There is no cost to participants as this programme is funded by Africa Finance Corporation.

Language: The programme is conducted in English; participants must be proficient in written and spoken English.

10 October 2024Online platform opens - 3 hours of independent online learning in preparation for the live sessions to follow
16 October 2024Programme launch session – 1.5 hours real-time live on Zoom
23 October & 6 & 14 November 2024Leading Beyond Authority - 6 hours of real-time live sessions on Zoom
4-5 & 10-11 December 2024Climate Challenge programme - 18 hours of real-time live sessions on Zoom
17 December 202Learning & Action Planning session - 1.5 hours real-time live on Zoom

For full details of the dates and times please download the Programme Schedule.

More information

Find out more about the Programme

Join an information webinar where we will explain the programme in more detail. These will be on 8 August and 4 September 2024 at 12:00 noon London time.

If you would like to attend, please register using the links below: 

Information webinar #1: 8 August 2024 - 12:00 noon London / 14:00 Nairobi / 12:00 Abuja / 16:30 Delhi / 19:00 Singapore

Information webinar #2: 4 September 2024 - 12:00 noon London / 14:00 Nairobi / 12:00 Abuja / 16:30 Delhi / 19:00 Singapore

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Common Purpose

Common Purpose is a leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. A not-for-profit, we run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide. Founded in 1989, we have over 125,000 alumni globally. Our leadership development programmes inspire and equip people to work across boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems in organizations and in society.

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Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

AFC was established in 2007 to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. AFC’s approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development, and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth.

Sixteen years on, AFC has developed a track record as the partner of choice in Africa for investing and delivering on instrumental, high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. AFC has 42 member countries and has invested US$12.7 billion across Africa since inception.