US Pledges Financial Support For Young African Leaders

by Dayo Laniyan

In the last day of the US-Africa Leader’s Summit, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that they will be spending $38m to finance the four Youth African Leader’s Initiative (YALI) leadership centres, according to US President Barack Obama.

These leadership centres will go towards building up young Africans into future leadership, by educating and networking them in topics such as politics, business, and non-government activities.

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, “By connecting these bright leaders to the world’s innovation highways, President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative will empower a new generation to transform the continent and their communities.”

USAID will not be the only investors, however. Their contribution will be alongside that of the MasterCard Foundation, which is committing $10m into the YALI centres.

“The MasterCard Foundation is delighted to partner with USAID on the next stage of the Young African Leaders Initiative.” Spoke Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. “YALI offers great promise for talented young men and women of Africa, and includes critical education, entrepreneurship and leadership development opportunities”

This is all in accordance with the three-day US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, the intention of which is to renew economical ties between the US and Africa, due to China increasing its African investments.

More than 50 African Heads of State have attended, and more than 90 U.S. companies are participating in the forums, all willing to partake in Africa’s growing potential: The continent is predicted to have a larger work force than China or India by 2040 and now possesses the world’s fastest growing middle class, which highly supports demand for consumable goods.

Many companies have made their own investments into the summit and particularly into the YALI centres, collectively investing $14billion into African energy and infrastructure: Among the notables is Microsoft, which is committing $12.5million into propriety business software and hardware; Intel Corporation, with $5million going into training entrepreneurship basics and technology trends, as well as volunteer support and coaching; and also the Coca Cola Co, which has declared that it will invest $5billion with African bottling partners in new manufacturing lines and equipment, as well as safe water access programs.

It is not only American firms that have pledged their support for the summit however. The World Bank announced a $5billion investment into Power Africa, alongside General Electric which is committing $2billion.

Also Aliko Dangote, President of Nigeria’s Dangote group and currently the richest black man in the world, has signed an agreement to jointly invest $5billion in energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa with Blackstone Group.

“For too long, inadequate energy infrastructure has been a major obstacle to the continent as it seeks to fulfil its economic potential.” He said.  “I’am pleased to partner with Blackstone and the Black Rhino Team, who have considerable experience successfully developing large scale infrastructure projects, to address this issue in a socially conscious way.”

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