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Acha Leke

Senior Partner, Johannesburg
Works with key public, private, and social sector institutions to accelerate growth and development in Africa

About Acha

Acha is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office, Chairman of McKinsey’s Africa region, and a member of McKinsey’s Shareholders Council–our global governance board. He started his career at McKinsey as a summer associate in South Africa in 1998. He rejoined the firm in Atlanta in 1999 and transferred back to Johannesburg in 2002 to help expand the firm’s activities across Sub- Saharan Africa. Acha relocated to Lagos in 2010 to open up the firm’s newly established office in Nigeria and returned to South Africa in 2014. He leads the firm’s Private Equity & Principal Investors Practice in Africa and is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Council. Until December 2018, he led the Public & Social Sector Practice in Africa and was also the senior partner in charge of global recruiting for McKinsey worldwide.

Acha serves governments, multinationals, and private sector institutions across Africa on issues of economic development, tax administration, growth strategies, holistic transformations, and investment decisions. He has worked across more than 20 African countries to date.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Acha worked as a part-time consultant on novel techniques to linearize high power amplifiers for wireless applications, while completing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He also received an MS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University, as well as a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering summa cum laude, with a minor in Economics, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he graduated as the first Black Valedictorian in the School’s history and was elected to Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

Acha is a co-founder and member of the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy, a co-educational boarding school which aims to develop the next generation of African leaders. He is also a co-founder of the African Leadership Network, a network of the current generation of African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the Continent. He is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader Alumni (2008), and has received numerous recognitions including Africa’s Young Investment Professional of the year (Africa Investor, 2008); Top 40 men under 40 in South Africa (Destiny Man, 2010); Top 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa (Forbes, 2011); 50 Most Influential Africans (Africa Report, 2012, 2019; Jeune Afrique, 2018); 100 Most Influential Africans (New African, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016; Jeune Afrique, 2019); Top 20 next generation Francophone Africans (Forbes, 2013); Top 40 under 40 in Nigeria (Business Day, 2013); and Top 20 Rising Stars in Africa (Euromoney, 2014).

Acha served on the WEF’s Global Future Council on economic growth and social inclusion for two years, after having served for eight years on the Global Agenda Council for Africa; he also served on ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board. He is a member of the Lagos Business School advisory board, and of President Kagame’s African Union (AU) Reform Steering Committee. He co-authored McKinsey’s highly acclaimed series of reports Lions on the Move and the latest book Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market. He is regularly featured in various media—including CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Economist, FT, Wall Street Journal, Jeune Afrique, Harvard Business Review, and others.

Acha is from Cameroon, and is fluent in both English and French.

Published work

Reopening and reimagining Africa,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Finding Africa’s path: Shaping bold solutions to save lives and livelihoods in the COVID-19 crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Tackling COVID-19 in Africa,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in Africa,” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2019

A conversation with Jay Ireland, former president and CEO, GE Africa,” McKinsey & Company, February 2019

Leadership lessons from Africa’s trailblazers,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Rethinking the African business opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, November 2018

How to win in Africa,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2018

Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market,” Harvard Business Review Press, October 31, 2018

Africa’s overlooked business revolution,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2018

Outperformers: High-growth emerging economies and the companies that propel them,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2018

Lions (still) on the move: Growth in Africa’s consumer sector,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2017

Africa still rising,” Project Syndicate, September 2016

Realizing the potential of Africa’s economies,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2016

South Africa’s bold priorities for inclusive growth,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2015

Lions go global: Deepening Africa’s ties to the United States,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2014

Nigeria’s renewal: Delivering inclusive growth,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2014

Africa: Cracking the next growth market,” Harvard Business Review, May 2011

What's driving Africa's growth,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2010

Lions on the move: The progress and potential of African economies,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2010

Past experience

Pacific Monolithics, Inc.
Part-time consultant

Spectrian Corporation
Part-time consultant

Education

Stanford University
PhD, electrical engineering
MEng, engineering management, industrial engineering, and electrical engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology
BEng, electrical engineering