The U.S Department of State and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) will support selected Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) entrepreneurs to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference according to an announcement made at a gathering of 500 Young African leaders, a forum that was addressed by the US President Barack Obama.
The move by the State Department was further emphasized by the prominence accorded to DEMO Africa at the 2014 US Africa Leaders’ Summit. The support has been welcomed by the DEMO Africa secretariat and the September event Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in Nigeria.
“We are excited that our efforts to grow Africa are getting support from critical quarters. Support for start-up entrepreneurs is a solid move towards making Africa a first world given that the growth of the continent largely rests on the actions and decisions of these young entrepreneurs.” said LOC’s Chairman Yele Okeremi, seconded by DEMO Africa Executive Producer Harry Hare who added that African entrepreneurs need to work together to find world class solutions to needs that the continent is currently facing.
DEMO Africa is to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 – 26 where top 40 start-ups from Africa will get an opportunity to launch their products before investors, mentors, IT sector stakeholders and would be partners. Prior to the event, the start-ups will benefit from a six week coaching and mentorship program to be spearheaded by DEMO Africa and the US State Department.
The State Department also announced plans to set up four Regional Leadership Centers in Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa. The centers, which are set to begin operations in early 2015, are meant to improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.
DEMO Africa 2014 is organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, and VC4Africa, among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.