Over 150 young leaders from 21 West African countries will gather in Accra, Ghana next week to share their expertise and engage on issues they have defined as critical for the future of Africa. In support of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), USAID and IREX are organizing the 1st Annual West Africa Regional Conference for Mandela Washington Fellows in Accra from April 26-28, 2015. The Fellows include tech and social entrepreneurs, public servants, human rights activists, lawyers, doctors and youth activists who are bringing changes to their home countries and communities with support from USAID and IREX. In addition to this impressive group of Fellows, the conference will bring together leaders from the private sector, the U.S. Government, and international and local organizations.
The conference will highlight issues and ideas for promoting entrepreneurship, growth sectors, inclusive development, energy, women in technology, and philanthropy in Africa. Event speakers include Deputy Minister of Education in Ghana, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Founder of the Future Africa Project, Chude Jideonwo; CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, Theo Sowa; U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz; and the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship brings 500 young African professionals from across the continent to U.S. universities for six weeks of leadership training in the areas of business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, or public management. Competitively selected for this prestigious flagship program, the Fellows represent the continent’s emerging generation of business CEO’s, community leaders, and public officials.
The West African Fellows include participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, São Tome and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
USAID and IREX support Mandela Washington Fellows with continuing professional development opportunities in Africa. This is done with coordination support from the West Africa Civil Society Institute based in Accra, Ghana. To find out more about the Mandela Washington Fellowship visit: https://www.irex.org/projects/yali/. Participation in the conference is by invitation only.