Vice President Kamala Harris announced the United States government’s intentions to work with Congress to fund more than $100 million in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) expansion. This will be done with the intention to develop leadership and increase access to skills training for women. The expansion, which will be executed in collaboration with partners, will see the creation of the Young African Leaders Exchange, which is described as the first pan-African virtual platform that will enable the connection of the Diaspora as well as important stakeholders with YALI alumni from 49 sub-Saharan countries. At the time of reporting, there are close to 28,000 YALI alumni. The Exchange will serve as a networking platform with access to mentors and coaches. It will showcase initiatives and enhance the leadership of marginalized youth and women. It will also grant access to internship opportunities.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will be hosting an Alumni Symposium in March 2023. The symposium will be held in South Africa with close to 500 of 2021’s alumni attending.
The additional funding will widen YALI’s training and mentoring of young Africans with transformative skills for their communities in general and the continent at large. The additional funding is meant to ensure YALI’s ability to participate in several areas including digital spaces, gender equality, public management, and civic leadership. It would also allow YALI to garner the support of governments, the private sector, and the Diaspora to create economic opportunities.
The additional funds would also see the facilitation of the first pan-African Alumni Expo and Trade Show. The show will feature the innovations and creations of alumni and will serve as a platform for the meeting of experts and officials from the private sector. Civil society, government, and the diaspora community would be present as well. YALI was launched in 2010. It has shown how equipping people with certain skill sets transforms lives and addresses problems in communities, society, and countries across Africa.