Deepening U.S. Engagement With African Youth Through #YALI2015

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 3, 2015
President Barack Obama answers questions from participants after speaking at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C.

Five hundred exceptional young African leaders convened at a YALI Presidential Summit and Town Hall with President Obama today in Washington. 

In his remarks, President Obama underscored the United States' commitment to the African continent. "And the reason I’ve devoted so much energy to our work with the continent is, as I said last week, even as Africa continues to confront many challenges, Africa is on the move. It’s one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Africa’s middle class is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers. With hundreds of millions of mobile phones and surging access to the Internet, Africans are beginning to leapfrog old technologies into new prosperity. The continent has achieved historic gains in health, from fighting HIV/AIDS to making childbirth safer for women and babies. Millions have been lifted from extreme poverty. So this is extraordinary progress."

The expansion of YALI programs over the past five years has allowed the United States to connect with more young Africans than ever before. To date, tens of thousands of young African men and women have increased their skills, professional networks, and resolve in driving positive change in Africa. YALI is providing opportunities for young Africans to enhance their leadership skills and create meaningful ties with American citizens, businesses, organizations, and each other. Following-up on several commitments made at last year's YALI Summit, President Obama announced several new important expansions for YALI:

President Obama said, "Our hope is, is that 10, 15, 20 years from now, when you’ve all gone on to be ministers in government, or leaders in business, or pioneers of social change, that you’ll still be connecting with each other, that you’ll still be learning from each other, and that together, you’ll be reaching back and helping the next generation -- that you’ll not only be making a difference in your own countries, but you’ll be the foundation of a new generation of global leadership, a generation that’s going to be working together across borders to make the world safer and more prosperous and more peaceful and more just. That’s my hope for you."  

For the duration of the  three-day Summit, the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows, who represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials, will engage with leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as with each other.  Follow @YALInetwork and @ECAatState for updates.

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