Who We are

"We engage with young and emerging leaders with innovative ideas, those who think differently, see what others cant, and are actively working towards turning their ideas into real outcomes."

Our Story

In 2012, two fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and Africa Leadership Initiative, Awel Uwihanganye and Magnus Mchunguzi, conceived the idea of the LéO Africa Institute as a collaborative project to advance thought leadership, nurture young and emerging leaders in Africa, and spur them to success, achievement and excellence.


In a fast changing world, with increased human and environmental challenges, transformational and ethical leadership becomes a critical tool to build better societies, and indeed a better world.


Our contribution towards this cause is through fostering exchange of ideas among young and emerging leaders in Africa about the processes shaping the governance environment, how we relate with one another, and how we conduct business. In essence we are building a community of leaders across sectors who have ambition, who think big, are decisive, will encourage and hold each other to account.


We engage young and emerging leaders with innovative ideas, those who think differently, see what others can’t, and are actively working towards turning their ideas into real outcomes. We believe in actively contributing to an environment where others succeed and want to contribute to a better world.


Why we do what we do

We believe that ideas matter in moving our societies forward. We also strongly believe networks of thinkers and doers are valuable in advancing global collaborations and partnerships for development.



How we are Contributing to the Africa We Want

Our Initiatives

We leverage our network of outstanding thought leaders and extended networks of the Africa Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Institute to expand our reach and impact on issues of concern to Africa and the world. 

To truly ensure young people lead in innovating solutions to today’s challenges, three key aims are at the centre of our action:

  • Fostering an environment for ideas and creative thought
  • Encouraging individual and collective action
  • Building networks and platforms of like-minded actors to inspire and encourage each other


Our Fellowship

The fast growing youth population in Africa has been dubbed as a time bomb for sub Saharan African countries. We take a more positive look at this: with the right leadership action, Africa’s fast growing youth population – with their innovativeness, entrepreneurial spirit and zeal to succeed – can be harnessed to transform not only the continent but the world at large.


The Young and Emerging leaders Project (Y&ELP) is aimed at nurturing a new breed of integral, socially responsible, and transformative leaders, committed to championing society’s causes.


Underpinning this initiative is the principle of “Agaciro”, which espouses the dignity, self-worth, and identity of the African as the cornerstone of leadership. Specifically targeting young leaders with backgrounds in the media, social enterprise, the Arts and innovators, the Y&ELP will attract 20 outstanding thought leaders into a year-long fellowship. The overall idea behind the Y&ELP is for the fellows to lift each other up, inspire each other, and work towards transforming themselves and their communities as opposed to having lectures and teachings on a subject as broad as leadership.


Y&ELP fellows will form part of the Institute’s growing network of outstanding thought leaders across East Africa who shall meet annually at our events.


The LéO Africa Economic Forum

The Economic Forum has been held annually in Kampala since 2014 as a gathering of thought leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and social actors to explore the ideas that are transforming industry and highlight vital economic trends shaping the socio-economic landscape in Africa and the world.

The Forum provides a platform for young, emerging and established players in the business sector to network and foster collaborations and partnerships.


The Annual Leaders Gathering

The gathering is a meeting of thought leaders from our network who convene to reflect on what it takes to achieve good leadership and ideas that will guide action towards transformation of society.


The Gathering brings together members of the LéO Africa network, partners, and friends of the Institute in both public and private sectors to exchange of ideas about the processes shaping the governance environment in Africa, how to deepen collaborations and partnerships between like-minded actors and cause the change we want to see.


LéO Africa Review

The LéO Africa Review is an independent magazine published by the Institute. Focused on East Africa, the quarterly publication advances constructive ideas on values-based leadership, with a major focus on innovations and social enterprise.


The publication’s targeted readership includes thought leaders, social actors, entrepreneurs, innovators, as well as an emerging critical mass of young professionals in East Africa.


 Our Team

Meet our dynamic team of young people committed to shaping leadership that actively contributes to building the Africa we want.

In addition to our staff, the institute continues to rely on the diverse skill sets, innovation and hard work of our associate faculty, volunteers and friends to whom we are grateful for the amazing work they put in.


Awel Uwihanganye - Senior Director & Co-Founder

Kwezi Tabaro – Deputy Director

Ivan Rugambwa, Communications & Economic Forum Coordinator

Charles Kavuma - Logistics & Finance Coordinator

Ian Katusime, Chief Editor LéO Africa Review


Board of Directors

Our governance board is constituted with individuals whose integrity is beyond reproach and with whom we share a commitment to create a better society and future with young people at the center of shaping leadership action.



Lucy Mbabazi, Country Manager VISA Rwanda, Burundi & Malawi



Awel Uwihanganye, Founder & Senior Director, LéO Africa Institute

Gilbert Kamuntu, Senior Commercial Advisor Tullow Oil

Daniel Kaggwa, Uganda Fund Country Manager, Business Partners International

Patricia Nsanze-Nzeyi, Governance & Policy Expert, Kampala Uganda

William Babigumira, Certified Trade Advisor, Private Sector Federation Rwanda

Kwame Rugunda, Founder & CEO WhatCan Initiative

Secretary to the Board: ABMAK Associates


Our Associate Faculty

Members of the Associate Faculty are a valued component of the Institute structure. They constitute a pool of key resource persons who make significant contribution with their time in shaping content and ideas towards various initiatives under the Institute.

Faith Mbabazi;   Communications & CSR Specialist

Philippa Mbonye;  Public Health & Management Specialist                  

Leonard Mungarulire;  Private Sector & Trade Development Advisor

Michael Mugisha; Assistant Lecturer, Makerere University

Donald Ntare Byamugisha;   Founding Partner, BITEPH Strategic Consulting

Paul Kasenene; Medical Doctor, Nutrition Educator and

William Makanza;  Project Management Consultant

Lucrezia Koestler Bitete;   Managing Director, Laboremus Consulting

Ernest Mugabe; Managing Director, Pixel City

Angelo Izama;   Journalist, Energy Oil and Gas Policy Analyst

Bob Mukiza;   Trade Policy and Energy Expert

Hashim Mulangwa;  Economist, Policy Analyst, Development Strategy Expert

Job Kahigwa;   Energy and Petroleum Specialist

Grace Muguli Kwizera;  Economist & Entrepreneur

Zia Uwera;  Marketing & Finance Executive

Mohammed Shuriye;  Corporate Social Responsibility Expert

Ivan Kyambadde;  Founder & Managing Director, The East Africa Movement 

Robert Damulira;  WWF Energy Coordinator, East and Southern Africa

Ronnie Asiimwe; Legal Counsel, Managing Partner Capital Law Firm

Bob Katera;   Business Development Specialist

Daniel Makubuya;  Legal Counsel, Capital Partners

Didace Ruzigamanzi;  Entrepreneur

Howard Mutimbo;  Economist, Business Development Manager, Philips East Africa 

Yusuf Kiranda;   Governance & Project Management Specialist

Musoke Timothy;  Technology & Software Expert, Laboremus

Our Community of Advisors

Magnus Mchunguzi, Entrepreneur and co-founder LéO Africa Institute 

Evelyn Kamagaju, Certified Chartered Accountant, Former Auditor General Republic Of Rwanda

Faustin Mbundu, Entrepreneur, former Chairman Rwanda Private Sector Federation

Ali Mufuruki, Leading African Entrepreneur, Founder & Chair Africa Leadership Initiative East Africa Foundation 

Dr. Ben Mbonye, Orthopedic Surgeon, Public Health Specialist

Richard Mugisha, Senior Partner, Trust Law Partners

Ambassador Frank Mugambage, Senior Diplomat, Rwanda Ambassador to Uganda

Andrew Mwenda, Journalist & Managing partner, Independent News Magazine

Ambassador Nimisha Madhivani, Senior Diplomat, Uganda’s Ambassador to France, Portugal & Spain

Clare Akamanzi, Head Of Policy & Strategy Office of the President, Republic Of Rwanda

Rosette Rugamba, Founder & Managing Director Songa Africa Travel Company

Leslie Rance, Corporate and regulatory Affairs Executive

Stella Kilonzo, Capital Markets Manager, African Development Bank

Adonia Ayebare, Senior Diplomat, Uganda Foreign Affairs

Rehma Kasule, Managing Director CEDA, International

Partner with Us

The LéO Africa institute is working directly with young and emerging leaders to build their individual and collective capacity to have impact in their communities and society as a whole. 

We want to work with other actors from government, the private sector, civil society and media in providing platforms to support young leaders who are committed to shaping society and contributing to the Africa we want. 

If you believe in shaping society positively by investing in innovative, passionate and entrepreneurial individuals, we invite you to join us; to support our efforts or collaborate on exciting projects building change agents in our communities and countries.