James Friedrich Woods 2022James Friedrich Woods


Occupational Information

Job Title: Partner and Head of Governmental and Diplomatic Relations at Rainbow Sports

Professional History

James Friedrich Woods is Partner and Head of Governmental and Diplomatic Relations at Rainbow Sports Global. Rainbow Sports Global is a leading sports enterprise with a global footprint. In addition to this, he serves on the faculty of Africa Brand Leadership Academy; Senior Advisor to KRL International; and Director for Africa at Farrant Group. He has served as an advisor to several African governments, reporting to the Heads of State; and worked in the diplomatic field as the Head of Chancery for the Embassy of Malawi, with accreditation to Belgium, Andorra, France, The Principality of Monaco, Italy, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and to the European Union. He has held a position at The Mo Ibrahim Foundation; and he has consulted for several international organisations. James brings significant experience dealing with governance issues, reputation management, strategic media, and communications.

James is a Founder and Co-Founder of numerous businesses with operations in the United Kingdom and Africa, with a focus on media, commercial and residential real estate, construction, machinery, agriculture, sport and healthcare.

James was orphaned at the age of eight in Malawi, a journey which had its obstacles. It was this experience that ignited a passion for innovation and socio-economic development. Growing up, playing sport proved a vital source of education, supplementing his circumstances and created his interest in sports and governance that came to be so intertwined in his career to date.

He has won numerous awards, including African Achiever of 2015, the Young African Leader of 2015 award and the Malawian Achiever of 2016.


B.A. Honours, Politics, Philosophy and History, University of London
MSc, Social Policy and Development, London School of Economics & Political Science
Executive Leadership Programme, University of Oxford, Saïd Business School
Crisis Management and Communications, Clingendael Institute of International Relations
Certificate, Global Diplomacy, School of Oriental and African Studies
Certificate in Diplomacy, Clingendael Institute of International Relations
Executive Certificate, Shipping Economics and Investment, Cass Business School
Accepted for the Executive MBA at Oxford University's Saïd Business School


2022 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

Additional Search Tags: sport development, diplomat, diplomacy, business negotiation,

About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.