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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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Young African Leaders: Washington Fellowship now Mandela Washington

Young African Leaders: Washington Fellowship now Mandela Washington

The US President also declared an investment of USD 38 million for the creation of four Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa, which will be co-funded by Microsoft under public-private partnership. (Image: White House)

President Obama announced in front of 500 exceptional young leaders on July 28, 2014 that the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will now be called the Mandela Washington Fellowship in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Besides, the US President also declared an investment of USD 38 million for the creation of four Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa.

These Centers will begin next year and will provide quality leadership training, support entrepreneurship and enhance professional networking.

Each Centre will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalising on 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.

Microsoft is excited to be one of these partners in providing in-kind contributions to the Regional Leadership Centres. Starting 2015, these Centres will improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders.

Microsoft is also offering technical support and fully-sponsored internships for 100 YALI fellows under its 4Afrika Youth Programme, which provides fellowships, mentorships, internships, scholarships, devices, funding and skills development for Africa’s youth.

Besides, United States also plans to double the number of annual participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship to 1,000 each year by 2016.

The signature aspects of this expansion include also new virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces for the YALI Network; hundreds of new entrepreneurship grants and mobile incubators, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.

YALI allows young African leaders to gain skills and connections needed to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

Additionally, the President announced new public-private partnerships to create a range of programs, platforms, and support for young African leaders.

As Africa’s population under 35 accounts for 60%, the future success of African nations rely on leadership, skills and ingenuity of this emerging generation of leaders and this public-private partnership is essential to help in the enhancement of the continent for years to come.

Besides, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

Each year, the Mandela Washington Fellowship brings 500 Africa’s most dynamic young leaders to the U.S. for six weeks of leadership training, networking, and mentoring at top US universities.

The focus of training and mentorship is on three areas: entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration. The outcome of this program is to get access to development opportunities, mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support Fellows’ ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Furthermore, the US Government is increasing support to entrepreneurs by connecting them to investors, advisors, and distribution networks.

The YALI Summit serves as an introduction to the ongoing three-day inaugural US–Africa Leaders Summit starting today, which is the largest gathering any US President has held with African heads of state and government and will enhance cooperation between the US and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.

YALI Network members will have the opportunity to present at and participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in both Morocco for this year and Sub-Saharan Africa for next year.

President Obama highlighted that young African will continue to get access to resources they can use to put their skills to work in service of their communities.

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