Christian Leaders for Africa (CLA) was organized in 2002 at the request of the trustees and administrators of Africa International University (AIU), which was at that time Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST). These leaders were seeking a structure for communicating and expanding their US network of friends and donors for NEGST. Then Vice-Chancellor David Kasali and Deputy Vice-Chancellor George Renner invited individuals who had visited the school and demonstrated interest in providing support for its students and faculty to form a board. This board proceeded to incorporate as a US nonprofit organization and to recruit an executive director.

In 2011 under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Douglas Carew, NEGST became the university known as AIU. The university has three schools: NEGST, Institute for the Study of African Realities (ISAR), and School of Professional Studies (SPS). That same year, CLA celebrated with AIU as Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki awarded the university a charter, recognizing it as an institution of higher education accredited by the national government. AIU continues the tradition of exemplary evangelical education, and CLA fully embraces its widening influence in providing quality Christian education.