Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative
Education Politics

Generation Next: President Obama Welcomes 500 Students Poised To Lead Africa

(Image: Young African Leaders Initiative)

(Image: Youngafricanleaders.state.gov)

Sixty percent of Africa’s population is under 35 and the future success of African nations will depend on the leadership, skills, and ingenuity of this emerging generation of leaders and this public-private partnership is vital to helping better the continent for years to come.

It’s a statistic the president has been monitoring carefully. He says he launched the Young African Leaders Initiative four years ago to make sure that the U.S. is tapping into the incredible talent and creativity of young Africans and to partner with thousands of young people across the continent — empowering them with the skills, training and technology they need to start new businesses, to spark change in their communities, and to promote education, health care and good governance.

In a blog posted Monday on the fellowship, Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett said, “Last year … we said goodbye to one of the brightest lights the world has ever known — President Nelson Mandela. His life was proof of the power within each of us to leave the world better than we found it. Yet, as that brilliant star dimmed, we now have the opportunity to see 500 more shine brightly this week.”

According to a White House official, “The YALI Summit serves as the lead-up event to next week’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest gathering any U.S. president has held with African heads of state and government, which will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions.”

Obama said next week’s summit “will focus on how we can continue to build a new model of partnership between America and Africa — a partnership of equals that focuses on your capacity to expand opportunity and strengthen democracy and promote security and peace.”

Check out the rest of the president’s speech and questions from the participants at the town hall here.