Obama Launches Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI)

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US President Obama, along with 500 young African leaders, has announced the expansion of his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that was launched earlier in 2010.

This programme will provide a platform for the United States t oinvest in the next generation of African leaders. Already, the US has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders, the United States, and the American people.

The aspects targeted include:

  • The creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa.
  • The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will be renamed as the “MandelaWashington Fellowship for Young African Leaders” and will be doubled in size to reach 1,000 participants each year by 2016.
  • New virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces for the YALI Network.
  • Hundreds of new entrepreneurship grants and mobile incubators, and the Global

Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.

President Obama also announced the creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa in 2015. These centers will improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders. Each will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the energy and dynamism of the private sector, the knowledge of African and American institutions, and the programmatic and educational resources of the U.S. Government

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $38 million for the creation of and programs in the Regional Leadership Centers. American and African companies and foundations have more than matched these funds, providing principal capital for the startup costs, equipment, and technology for the Centers.

The MasterCard Foundation will provide financial support over five years to develop the Centers. With financial and in-kind contributions from Microsoft, Dow Chemical Company, Intel Corporation, and Cisco Systems, the U.S. Government will be able to establish and maintain the Centers, and provide business software and hardware, mentoring, and information technology training through them. With in-kind support from Proctor & Gamble, General

Electric, Atlas Mara, and McKinsey & Company, the U.S. and its partners will be able to provide leadership training, technical support, and access to capital for young entrepreneurs.

The U.S. government has joined with the following partners to establish and deliver high quality training, support, and networking through the Centers. In collaboration with USAID, host institutions in Africa will provide instruction and collaboration space, expert training, and

coursework for the Centers.

  • The Center in Ghana will be supported by a consortium of civil and private sector
  • Organizations including Africa 2.0, Africa Capacity Building Foundation, Ghana Private Enterprise Federation, and the Center for Policy Analysis, led by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
  • The Center in Kenya will have a robust training curriculum with direction from apartnership that brings together Deloitte’s global management and strategy skills, the established curriculum and capacity of Kenyatta University, the public administration training of the Kenya School of Government, and Africa Nazarene University’s youth engagement and outreach.
  • The Center in South Africa will benefit from an education alliance led by the University of South Africa, with support from the University of Pretoria, which brings expertise in governance training, and Innovation Hub, which provides entrepreneurship support.
  • The Center in Senegal will assist young entrepreneurs through the African Center for

Advanced Studies in Management’s experience in professional management studies, the West African Research Center’s youth leadership training experience, and the Synapse Center’s support to young leaders.

Another programme being launched include the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, which will reach 1,000 participants each year by 2016. The Fellowship currently brings 500 of Africa’s most dynamic young leaders to the United States each year for six weeks of leadership training, networking, and mentoring at top U.S. universities.

Training and mentorship are focused on three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration. Upon returning home, the Fellows will have access to professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Providing the Tools, Training, and Technology to Promote Leadership: The YALI Network .The YALI Network provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to improve their communities and their countries. Established by President Obama in April 2014, the Network already includes more than 68,000 members.

Through the Yali.state.gov and social media, the United States provides online courses and materials, and connects members with global leaders in their field. Over the next year, President Obama will continue to engage the YALI Network.

Creation of state-of-the-art YALI Spaces. Over the next year, American Corners in Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and South Africa will be outfitted to provide YALI Network members opportunities to meet, learn, and incubate their ideas; spaces in seven additional countries will be
renovated over the next two years. YALI staff will facilitate online courses and provide advice on everything from business start-ups to opportunities for study abroad.

Meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and business tools will allow YALI Network members to work together to create social ventures, community service projects, and new business start-ups.

Currently, 43 embassies have youth councils that provide input into U.S. policies and contribute to the design and execution of U.S. Government programs. Since 2010, the State Department has held 15 exchanges specifically for young African leaders and brought more than 1,600 sub-
Saharan young leaders to the United States, through its educational and cultural affairs programs, including Fulbright.

In addition to the announcements made by President Obama today, the U.S. Government is expanding support to entrepreneurs by connecting them to investors, advisors, and distribution networks.

In 2015, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. Morocco is hosting this year. YALI Network members will have the opportunity to present at and participate in both summits.

Over the next year, the State Department will lead three partnership opportunity delegations of entrepreneurs and investors to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana. In addition, the State Department and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) will support selected YALI entrepreneurs to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 – 26. DEMO Africa is a platform for top African companies to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.

The United States will continue providing young Africans access to resources they can use to put their skills to work in service of their communities. They will do this by providing entrepreneurship grants as well as mobile incubators.