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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 the chairman of McKinsey’s Africa region. He began his career at McKinsey as a summer associate in South Africa. 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 the newly established office in Nigeria and returned to South Africa in 2014. He leads the Public Sector, Social Sector, and Private Equity & Principal Investors Practices in Africa; is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute Council; and is the senior partner in charge of global recruiting for McKinsey.

Acha serves governments, multinational organizations, 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 his bachelor of electrical engineering, with a minor in economics, summa cum laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology as the first black valedictorian in the school’s history.

Acha is a cofounder and member of the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy, a coeducational boarding school that aims to develop the next generation of African leaders. He is also a cofounder of the African Leadership Network, an invitation-only network of young African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the continent. Acha is an alumni (2008) of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders program 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), Top 20 Next Generation Francophone Africans (Forbes, 2013), Top 40 under 40 in Nigeria (Business Day, 2013), Top 20 Rising Stars in Africa (Euromoney, 2014), and 100 Most Influential Africans (New African, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016).

Acha is currently a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion after having served for eight years on the Global Agenda Council on Africa, the ONE Africa policy advisory board, the Lagos Business School advisory board, and President Kagame’s African Union reform-steering committee. He coauthored McKinsey’s highly acclaimed series of Lions on the Move reports as well as the upcoming book Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market (Harvard Business Press, November 2018). He is regularly featured in various media, including CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Economist, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

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

Published work

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 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


Stanford University
PhD, electrical engineering

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

Georgia Institute of Technology
BEng, electrical engineering