A Nigerian civil society leader, a financial and risk management expert from South Africa, a veteran COO from Ghana and a strategic communication and governance consultant and sports investor from Malawi – these are just a few of the brilliant and accomplished young leaders from Africa selected to partake in the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Class of 2022.
Between them they represent a colossal percentage of the African brain trust, proving through their words and deeds the availability of significant human capital on the continent which just has to be properly harnessed to help Africa rise to her rightful place in the world.
Standing out in such a class is no mean feat, yet that’s exactly what our subject for today.
Malawian James Friedrich Woods, easily does it and he is our spotlight person.
Diplomat * Consultant * Leader
James Woods is an award-winning African achiever, consultant, entrepreneur and thought leader who specialises in strategic communication and governance. He is a former Malawian diplomat whose tour of duty saw him serve the European Union, Andorra, Belgium, France, Principality of Monaco, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Away from this, James is a partner and director at Rainbow Sports Global (RSG).
Woods was chosen by the African Leadership Institute as one of the twenty-three recipients of the 2022 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship.
Dr Jackie Chimhanzi, CEO of the Institute, said the chosen candidates “demonstrate the incredible wealth and breadth of leadership talent that exists in Africa’s young people and bodes well for Africa’s future,”
The final twenty-three fellows were chosen from a rigorous process after the institute received 330 nominations of outstanding quality from across the continent.
Selected participants for the fellowship typically undergo a rigorous and introspective leadership experience in order to unlock their full leadership potential.
The Malawian prior to his selection for the fellowship had demonstrated a solid decade of outstanding leadership and competence in an impressive medley of roles spanning his home country, the rest of Africa, Europe and the United States.
Woods worked for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation between 2011 and 2013, responsible for among other things, spearheading the Foundation’s aims of promoting African leadership and good governance through high-level meetings and workshops, developing and executing strategic media and communication plans and planning and delivery of the Ibrahim Prize for outstanding African Leadership where $5 million is awarded to an outstanding former African head of state.
Between 2014 and 2016, Woods served as a Board Member for the London School of Economics Africa Summit. He was Country Director for Invest Africa – a leading pan-African business platform that promotes trade and investment in Africa – for six years between 2014 and 2020.
He held other roles – including serving as a communications advisor to numerous African heads of state across East, South and West Africa; served as chief consultant to several oil and gas companies such as UK-owned Surestream Petroleum and UAE Ras Al Khaimah Gas.
James has multiple other roles across the world. He is a member of the Faculty of the Africa Brand Leadership Academy (ABLA). ABLA’s faculty are a global network of African network and respected practitioners, thought leaders and academics across disciplines and industries who possess a rich blend of proven insights and experience. Collectively, they represent the vanguard of brand building in Africa
Woods is also the founder or co-founder of multiple businesses.
In 2020, Woods alongside two other Malawian diasporans in Serbia founded the AfriBalk connect to provide a specialised network to support private and institutional investors in engaging with opportunities between Africa and the Balkans. On 17th September 2022, Woods resigned from his ownership to focus on new ventures.
As an avid lover of sports, James Woods serves as a Director and Partner for Rainbow Sports Investments, a sports company that identifies, develops and manages talented African athletes to ensure they reach the elite level of sport.
Their areas of operations include Sports Franchise Ownership, Sports Management and Marketing, Consulting, Sports Content and Sports Financing.
Woods is a registered FIFA football intermediary with the Football Association of Malawi.
James Woods is a multitalented, high-achieving African marvel, demonstrating a stupendous level of excellence in a multifaceted variety of roles that are strenuously demanding.
In recognition of his talents, Woods received the Malawian Achiever award in 2016.
Prior to that, he had received the Young African Achiever award in the changemaker category in 2015. Other winners on the night included the then President of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete; the then Chair of the African Union, H.E. Dlamini Zuma and music sensation Diamond Platnumz.
The Malawian holds a Bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and history from the University of London, as well as a Master’s degree in social policy and development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
He has also completed an executive leadership program at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a certificate in global diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
As of September 2022, Woods has commenced on the prestigious Executive MBA with the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
James also works on advising corporations, individuals, and political leaders in Africa on communications, political risk, stakeholder engagement, and business strategy.
A man worth celebrating, James Woods is in our spotlight for today – an African star that keeps on shining bright in ably projecting the continent the world over.
Congratulations to James Woods for becoming a full Tutu Fellow on 14th September 2022 and congratulations to all the new Tutu Fellows of 2022.