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Young Leaders Will Shape Africa's Future


2014 YALI Washington Fellows studying in Virginia. (Photo by 2014 Washington Fellow, Rachael Njeri Wainaina)

Five hundred young men and women from across Africa will gather in Washington next week, part of our nation’s long-term effort to support and invest in Africa’s next generation of educators, entrepreneurs, activists and leaders.

Five hundred young men and women from across Africa will gather in Washington next week, part of our nation’s long-term effort to support and invest in Africa’s next generation of educators, entrepreneurs, activists and leaders.

The Young African Leaders Initiative, organized by President Barack Obama in 2010, will allow those attending to learn from one another while giving U.S. policymakers a chance to learn how best to support African youths’ vision for the future of their countries.

About 60 percent of Africa’s population is below the age of 35. Nearly one in three is between 10 and 24. It is clear then that Africa’s future is with its youth. They will provide the energy, new initiatives and new ideas to carry their nations forward.

In 2014, five hundred young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa, ages 25 to 35 years old, were selected to take part in the program, which provides academic courses at participating colleges and universities in the U.S., internships in their interests with companies and organizations, and a conference in Washington. Similar efforts for youth development, albeit on a smaller scale, are conducted by U.S. embassies across Africa.

It's hoped that bringing sub-Saharan Africa’s brightest young minds and leaders together in this way will allow them to learn from each other and help them deal with the challenges they and their countries face. Africa holds extraordinary promise, and the U.S. is committed to a partnership with it to fulfill that potential.

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