LSE and Africell deliver innovative executive training in The Gambia and Sierra Leone

participants attending an LSE Generate and Africell training session

Africell and LSE have partnered to pilot a new model of on-the-job professional education in The Gambia and Sierra Leone.

In October, London-based Africell and LSE Generate, the School’s entrepreneurship hub, delivered a series of bespoke training courses on “intrapreneurship” and “empathetic leadership” in The Gambia and Sierra Leone, where Africell is the leading mobile operator.

Motivated by the premise that the skills associated with entrepreneurship are as valuable in big organisations as in small startups, the training offered a practical introduction to current thinking around leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, drawing on the latest academic research from LSE.

Experts from LSE Generate first oversaw an intensive two-day workshop for Africell employees in The Gambia, which involved a Q&A with successful Gambian-American entrepreneur Dr Ismail Badjie. Then in Sierra Leone the team lead an expanded programme including both in-house Africell training and a special session at Fourah Bay College for students and faculty-members in Sierra Leone’s public university system. The training in Sierra Leone concluded with a Q&A with H.E. Salima Monorma Bah, the country’s telecommunications minister and youngest ever cabinet member.

The special session at Fourah Bay College was facilitated by Sierra Leone’s Ministry for Technical and Higher Education (MOTHE). Addressing participants, Deputy Minister Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara thanked Africell for bringing LSE to Sierra Leone and endorsed the collaboration, saying:

“A key part of the higher education experience is the development of soft skills needed to succeed beyond university, including leadership, empathy, emotional intelligence and confidence. This joint programme between LSE, MOTHE and Africell is the first of its kind to take place in Sierra Leone and we expect it to be the start of an ongoing partnership which gets bigger and better every year.”

During their visit to Freetown, LSE co-hosted an evening reception with the British High Commission and Africell to celebrate educational and business links between Sierra Leone and the UK. The event saw almost a hundred LSE alumni, Chevening Scholars, Commonwealth Scholars and others – including senior government officials from both main political parties – gather at the British High Commissioner’s residence.

 “We are excited to welcome such a prestigious UK university to Sierra Leone”, said British High Commissioner Lisa Chesney, MBE. “The UK and Sierra Leone have an enduring friendship, in part a result of the rich legacy of institutions that have much in common. I hope that LSE and Africell’s collaboration in Sierra Leone will help young people to nurture vital skills, advance in their careers, and contribute to Salone’s broader development.”

Delivery of the programme followed a large-scale event focusing on innovation in Africa at LSE’s campus in London in May 2023, hosted by Africell and LSE’s Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa. Ziad Dalloul, Africell Group’s CEO and President, explains the rationale for developing Africell’s partnership with the School:

“The aim of this initiative is to give staff a unique, in-person learning experience which represents a serious investment in their professional development and proves our confidence in their potential as future leaders. Being a UK-based but Africa-focused technology company, Africell is well positioned to be a conduit for knowledge, skills, and best practices between Africa and the wider world, and our work with LSE is part of that agenda.”