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The AWCA Leadership Academy


In line with its 2020 Vision to accelerate the development of members for strategic positions in both the public and private sector, the AWCA launched its Leadership Academy in 2016.
Image: Lesego Sennelo - President of the AWCA Image: Lesego Sennelo - President of the AWCA

The African Women Chartered Accountant (AWCA) Leadership Academy was conceived to consolidate the existing leadership training programmes provided by the AWCA,  and to offer enhanced programmes to improve the value proposition for members.

The Women Matter – Africa report, published by McKinsey & Company in 2016, painted the following picture:

  • Only 5% of private-sector CEOs in Africa are women;
  • 22% of cabinet ministers in African governments are women; and
  • Women members constitute 23% of executive committees and only 14% of boards in the private sector.

In launching the Leadership Academy, the AWCA sought to address the glaring inequalities concerning women in leadership by providing not only classroom training, but also experiential learning aimed at nurturing globally mobile, women talent.

The following key training programmes hosted by the AWCA, in partnership with international institutions, were consolidated into the Leadership Academy:

  • The Duke University/AWCA programme, which was started in 2014 to address the challenge of a shortage of women leaders on corporate boards. With professors who are board members and leaders of top JSE-listed companies, attendees of this four-day programme (two modules held over two months) are sure to set themselves up for executive success. Participants have an opportunity to network and position themselves for potential board placements.
  • The Fordham University/AWCA programme, which is a six-week programme, focusing on emerging markets, with emphasis on risks and opportunities in developing economies. The programme consists of two components, one being the attendance of part of the course in New York, thereby affording members an opportunity for international exposure and experience. Once participants return from the USA, they take part in the second component, which takes place in South Africa and is hosted by the University of Pretoria.

Over the next three years leading up to the realisation of the AWCA 2020 Vision, the Leadership Academy will seek to grow the basket of programmes, both in terms of depth and breadth:

  • Partnerships with various esteemed, international institutions are being explored to encourage members to broaden their global perspective;
  • Local partnerships are also billed to form part of the bouquet of programmes, to ensure relevance and collaboration within the South African environment; and
  • Additional programmes from Duke and Fordham, which will address the role of women in a fast-changing business world and how they can lead from the edge in various industries outside of accounting and finance, are also being reviewed.

In light of the inclusion of women players from different industries in the current programmes, the Leadership Academy will be extending existing and new learning opportunities to women from outside the accounting profession and non-AWCA members, to further stimulate and effect transformation. Based on the feedback received from members, as well as industry, the AWCA is aware that the programmes provided by the Leadership Academy have made a significant impact on the development and empowerment of women across all spheres of the public and private sectors. The AWCA looks forward to continuing with existing programmes, growing the scale of its contribution to transformation, as well as ethical, quality business leadership, by introducing more programmes and by including more women in the Leadership Academy in the years to come.

Fast fact

The AWCA Duke  Women Leading Africa Board Leadership Programme is one of the Leadership Academy’s flagship programmes.

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